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Dr Peta Leigh is an award-winning aesthetic and restorative dentist at Elleven Dental, here she shares five ways to get a camera-ready smile for your wedding without undergoing treatment...
You want to look and feel good of the biggest day of your life – thinking about the photos you are going to treasure forever is often enough to inspire brides and grooms to treat themselves to a 'smile makeover' in some capacity. Not everyone will have the time or desire to undergo cosmetic treatment with a dental expert – but the good news is there are still a handful of ways you can protect and enhance your smile to boost your confidence ahead of your wedding day.
1. Invest in a good toothbrush – Surprisingly, many patients still do not know the optimum way to brush their teeth, increasing their risk of staining and yellowing over time as well as allowing plaque build-up; plaque is an unsightly sticky coating of bacteria that forms constantly on your teeth. If it is not brushed away properly, it hardens to form calculus, which cannot be removed at home. Ensure that you're brushing once in the morning to remove any plaque that has accumulated overnight, and brush once at night to remove any that has built up over the course of the day – both times for a full 2 minutes. There is no comparison to using a good electric brush and this will also reduce surface stain build-up. Don't forget to brush your tongue, where we harbour a lot of bacteria, and don't forget to spent time brushing hard-to-reach spots where food debris can get caught. Make sure you use a fluoride or calcium based toothpaste to prevent tooth decay and always remember gentle but thorough cleaning is the key. Aggressive overbrushing can damage tooth surfaces and injure the gum.
2. Book a dental hygienist appointment a few weeks before the big day – While it is important to established a good at-home dental routine, visiting a hygienist is vital to keeping on top of your oral health. Importantly for your wedding day, a dental hygienist will help to remove plaque and calculus by performing a thorough cleaning of your teeth known as 'scaling and polishing', this will also remove external stains giving you an instant brightness. Remember smooth clean surfaces stain less! Booking regular hygienist appointments is particularly important if you smoke or vape – so make this appointment a priority in the weeks leading up to your wedding day.
3. Avoid teeth-staining foods and drinks in the run-up to your wedding – Foods like curries – especially those that contain the yellow spice turmeric – as well as beetroot, coffee, red wine, herbal tea and more can all leave our teeth looking stained and yellowed. Avoid eating and drinking these as much as possible in the run-up to your wedding day, and if you do treat yourself to any of these, make sure you wait at least 60 minutes to brush your teeth afterwards to avoid eroding your teeth enamel and causing long-term damage.
4. Include more teeth-friendly foods in your diet in the run-up to your wedding - Try and eat as much vitamin C (found in red peppers and broccoli) and dark green leafy vegetables to maintain your iron levels as these helps promote gum health. Teeth also love foods high in calcium and raw crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery to help naturally clean plaque and freshen breath.
5. Hydrate, especially the night before – Did you know teeth can dehydrate? Dehydrated teeth appear more patchy in colour and can be more sensitive, they also absorb stain more readily, so water is your secret weapon. Small sips throughout the day and particularly following eating will help reduce staining and improve the pH of your saliva after eating, therefore protecting your teeth. On the day have water readily available as well as some emergency dental floss!"