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The Hollywood smile - A brighter, sharper smile

Hollywood actors - Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Cameron Diaz etc - all have great looking smiles. And of course the basis for their fantastic looking 100 megawatt smiles are bright white teeth.

UK's bad press

Here in the UK we (rightly or wrongly) have been labelled a nation with poor dental hygiene. This bad press has possibly stemmed from characters depicted in US movies and TV shows. Such movie includes Austin Powers series as well as images found in The Simpsons Movie and TV series. That said, anyone who has seen the smile of The Pogues singer Shane MacGowan could, of course, wrongly assume that all us Brits looked like the gapped-toothed Irish rock star.

Good brushing techniques

However, I'm assuming that those of you reading this do have your own teeth safely intact but that you are looking for hot tips on how to best brighten up your smile. Below are some handy hints for improving the natural whiteness of your teeth.

1. Brush in a circular motion

That way the tooth enamel won't be scrapped away - a condition that can lead to tooth decay (enamel is the teeth's natural defence against sugar erosion etc). Brushing in a circular motion will clean teeth and gums very much in the same way a floor buffer polishes a floor.

2. Invest in an electric toothbrush

Standard electric toothbrushes perform this circular motion hundreds of times during an average 3 minute tooth cleaning session - something you won't be able to do with a standard non-electric toothbrush.

3. Floss

This is one area often neglected by us Brits. Flossing cleans in between teeth. It has the power to radicaly reduce the amount of plaque found in the mouth. Dental plaque is a layer of bacteria in an organic matrix on the surface of teeth, especially around the neck of each tooth. Having dental plaque may lead to development of gingivitis, periodontal disease, and caries - which in turn can lead to long lasting gum disease and the decay of teeth.

4. Whitening

There are a vast array of whitening products found in drug stores, chemists and supermarkets. Research has shown some of these whitening products to be good, others to be of little use. Before purchasing a whitening kit may I suggest you consult your own dentist. S/he may be aware of the latest and best brands on the market.

Alternatively dental hygienists can perform a whitening procedure (read a bleaching procedure) on your teeth that will have a lasting effect. However, these treatments can be proven to be expensive.

5. Regular visits to the dentist

Regular visits to the dentist will nip potential dental problems in the bud very early on. Of course infrequent visits will have the opposite effect - potential problems and mouth discomfort may persist with possible irreversible reprocustions.

My advice would be to book a dental visit at least every 6 months.

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