The rich and famous trek to Beverly Hills to get a brighter smile from Dr. Kevin Sands, who you might have seen on Dr. 90210. But if you can't make it in for an appointment, here's the next best thing: Dr. Sands's advice on getting whiter, healthier teeth at home. (Be sure to check with your own dentist before starting a whitening regimen, of course.) For his five easy and affordable ways to get your gleam on, keep reading.
- Break out the Arm & Hammer. "Baking soda should be used alone on a damp toothbrush or mixed with toothpaste to neutralize the salty taste," Dr. Sands says.
- Get chewin'. Dr. Sands recommends chomping down on chewing gum that has xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener. Chew it immediately after ingesting stain-causing food or beverages (red wine, coffee, and so forth) to keep stains at bay. The increased saliva protects your teeth before stains can set in. What's more, this kind of gum can actually help, not harm teeth. "An added benefit is that xylitol has been shown to help prevent decay," Dr. Sands says.
- Hit the market. In addition to avoiding stain-causing foods, seek out strawberries, which brighten teeth. Just slice one and rub it directly on your teeth. "Strawberries contain natural teeth whitening agents," Dr. Sands says. "It is very important to brush with toothpaste immediately afterward, as strawberries also contain sugar and acids."
- Concoct your own brushing blend. "Mix baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, salt, and toothpaste for an inexpensive whitening toothpaste," Dr. Sands says.
- Rinse well. Dr. Sands recommends a fluoride rinse such as Act Restoring rinse to strengthen teeth while keeping them sparkling.