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Oral Care

Whiten Your Teeth At Home

Turn your grin into a dazzler and fast with these expert lip tips and teeth-whitening treatments
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What more can a dentist do?

They make custom bleaching trays for at-home use, and they can apply a masking gel or dam to protect gums during stronger, in-office treatments. Many dentists have accelerated bleaching options that get teeth up to 10 shades lighter in a single visit (cost starts at about $400). Zoom! and BriteSmile are the two most popular. These use light to pump up the effects of double-digit-strength peroxide. However, any dramatic whitening can fade quickly without at-home maintenance (usually a tray, whitening strips, or toothpaste). You also have to watch what you eat and drink for a couple of days, since tooth enamel is very receptive to new color for the first 48 hours after a bleaching treatment.

Makeup tricks to make teeth look more white

3 Tips for Great Lips

  • Wipe out flakes. Smooth lips by gently rubbing them with a damp washcloth or soft toothbrush, then apply lip balm, suggests Jo Strettell, makeup artist for Rimmel. If the rough patches persist, it may actually be a reaction to the fragrance in your lip balm or lipstick. "Chronically peeling lips are often a sign of an allergy," says Santa Monica dermatologist Ava Shamban, M.D., who suggests switching to a hypoallergenic product.
  • Disguise lip lines. Exfoliation and hydration are also key to smoothing lip lines. Try a thick balm or hydrating treatment like Le Couvent des Minimes Nutritive Lip Balm ($10, department stores). Then slick on a shiny gloss or lipstick; matte formulas can get caught in the creases.
  • Fake fullness. Lip-plumping glosses are a fun way to fill out thin lips. They rely on ingredients — like cinnamon — that temporarily swell the skin. For best results, apply them to a bare mouth. "There's no downside as long as you're not allergic to the plumping ingredient," says Dr. Shamban. Try FusionBeauty LipFusion ($36, Sephora) or Prestige Wonder-Full Lip Plumping Gloss ($6; drugstores). Or opt for a gloss with shimmer to give lips a more 3-D look.

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).

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Answer:
Never
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Good
(1-3)
Better
(4-6)
Best
(7)

You are currently

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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