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Whiten Your Teeth At Home

Turn your grin into a dazzler and fast with these expert lip tips and teeth-whitening treatments

Who's Afraid of Bold, Red Lips?

Red lipstick looks festive — and can make your teeth look brighter. Here's help in finding (and putting on) the right red hue for you.

  • Use this foolproof method: Choose a color based on your undertones, says L.A. makeup artist Heather Currie. If your skin is olive, orangey reds look best. Try Chanel Rouge Allure in Audace ($30, department stores). If pink undertones predominate, try blue-based reds like Avon Limited Edition Pro-to-Go Lipstick in Party Rouge ($8, avon.com). True reds — neither too blue nor too orange — are the tooth brighteners. They look good on everyone. Try Lancôme L'Absolu Rouge in Absolute Rouge ($29, department stores).
  • Dress up lips with berry tones if you're red-shy; they're slightly less siren-y. Try a wine or plum shade, such as Revlon ColorStay Mineral Lipglaze in Perpetual Plum ($9, drugstores).
  • Opt for sheer formulas if your skin is blotchy or uneven. Conversely, the deepest, most opaque reds flatter smooth, even skin.
  • Match your liner to red lipstick. You want reds to look really perfect, suggests celebrity makeup artist Joanna Schlip.
  • Keep lipstick off teeth with this Hollywood makeup artist's move: Apply your shade, then place a clean finger in your mouth, purse your lips, and pull your finger out along with any excess color.

Lasting Tip
Give your favorite shade more staying power by filling in lips with liner, placing color over it, then dabbing on translucent powder. Add another coat of color and a second light dusting of powder. Or try a long-lasting lipstick; the latest formulas don't dry out lips. We like L'Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Lipstick in Rosé ($12, drugstores).

Five Quick Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

In the shower: Stop stains and tartar buildup in five minutes a day. Crest Whitestrips Daily Whitening Plus Tartar Protection ($40, drugstores)
At snack time: Choose crunchy fruits and veggies, such as apple slices, carrots, and celery sticks. They actually help clean your teeth while you munch, explains cosmetic dentist Jeff Golub-Evans, D.D.S.
After lunch: Chewing sugar-free gum can absorb some of the new-to-the-surface stains when you don't have time to brush. Supersmile Professional Whitening Gum ($24 for 100 pieces, supersmile.com)
Night out: This gloss's blue undertones make teeth appear whiter; its shiny, minty formula gives lips, and breath, a boost. CoverGirl Wetslicks AmazeMint in Plum Crazy ($5, drugstores)
After dinner: Swish water in your mouth for 30 seconds right after eating to help prevent stains, says Dr. Golub-Evans.


Originally published on October 30, 2008

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How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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