1. Go on a white-teeth diet. If you’re quaffing red wine and black tea, or smoking cigarettes, expect the results to show up as not-so-pearly whites. Other culprits include colas, gravy, soya sauce and dark juice.
2. Chuck away your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every two to three months. Otherwise, you’re just transferring bacteria to your mouth. According to dentist Harold Katz, the best way to brush is by placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums and gently moving it in a circular motion. Grip the toothbrush like a pencil so you won’t scrub too hard.
3. Use a tongue scraper every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen breath. One cause of bad breath is the build-up of bacteria on the tongue, which a daily tongue scraping will help banish. It’s more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush too, says Katz.
4. Eat “detergent” foods that are firm or crisp to help clean teeth as you munch. Apples are good, as are raw carrots, celery and popcorn. For best results, make “detergent” foods the final food you eat in your meal if you know you won’t be able to brush your teeth after eating.
5. Stay fresh. Check by licking your palm and smelling it while it’s wet. If you smell something, it’s time for a sugar-free breath mint. Shopping for mouthwash? Make sure it’s alcohol-free. Mouthwashes with too much alcohol can dry out mouth tissue, making it more prone to bacteria.
6. Brushing your teeth first and last thing are the two most crucial times of the day, as saliva which keeps plaque off teeth, dries up at night, so it’s best to have all plaque cleaned off the teeth before sleep. It’s also important to brush first thing in the morning to remove plaque and bacteria built up as you slept.