beauty

The 4 fancy dental products that aren't worth the money - and 3 that are.

Image: We wonder what whitening treatment Sofia Vergara uses… (Getty)

It seems every day there’s a new product on the market promising a gleaming smile to rival the brightest Hollywood star. But, like almost anything in life, not all dental products are made equal. Here, The Glow’s resident dentist Dr Priya Lal lays out the 4 that are definitely not worth your money – and the 3 that are.

The 4 products that aren’t worth it:

     1. Special mouthwashes

Mouthwashes may be required as an aid if you suffer from gum conditions such as periodontal disease and gingivitis. Antimicrobial mouthwashes can help reduce gum inflammation, however if you use mouthwash as a breath freshener it isn’t worth the money. Regular removal of hardened plaque by a dentist, brushing and flossing twice daily, regular tongue scrapping and frequently drinking water will be more effective in keeping your breath fresh.

The best way to keep your teeth white depends on your age

     2. Fancy toothbrushes

For some the electric toothbrush is the latest must-have gadget, but manual toothbrushes are just as good as the fashionable electric variety.  Although many electric versions come with built-in timers and songs to entice you to brush for longer, you can get the same effect with a traditional brush if you make sure you brush gently for at least two minutes, twice daily.

Good news - your trusty old-fashion toothbrush gets the job done. Image via Thinkstock

3. Fancy toothpastes

Commercial toothpaste ingredients are much the same – fluoride, preservatives, lathering agents, flavours and a mild abrasive, so there is no need to invest in expensive toothpastes. It is more important to use a soft toothbrush with gentle strokes and floss twice daily

     4. Over-the-counter whiteners

Although cheaper than teeth whitening systems offered by dentists, such as in office whitening and home bleaching trays, you basically get what you pay for with home whitening systems. The whitening toothpastes contain abrasive particles that can damage enamel with prolonged use and the whitening gel usually has no indication of the percentage of whitening ingredient contained.

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Want to know an easy, cheap way to make you teeth look white? Wear a blue based red lipstick, like these celebs:

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The 7 best ways to whiten your teeth at home

The 3 products that are worth buying:

     1. Teeth whitening

In office teeth whitening, although expensive, is the quickest and most effective way to make your teeth look younger and fresher. Dentists are the only practitioners that can administer hydrogen peroxide strong enough to whiten teeth.

Tooth whitening will give you a smile to rival Kate Middleton's. (Getty)

     2. Invisible braces

Crooked and overlapping teeth can rub again each other and accelerate tooth wear and tear. They are also more difficult to brush and floss which leads to a greater plaque build up and gum disease. To correct misalignment, invisible braces are worth the cost (usually between $5-8k). The procedure uses a series of transparent removable plastic plates to straighten teeth. They are virtually invisible and can be removed to eat, drink and brush teeth.

The 1-minute video that shows how braces really work.

     3. Water Flosser

Flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene and keeping in-between your teeth clean. Traditional dental floss is definitely effective enough for most people BUT if you have manual dexterity problems, dental braces, crowns, bridges, implants or gingivitis, a water flosser will make the flossing process easier and less time consuming. At $129 from Harvey Norman, they aren't cheap, but think of all the money you've saved on products you don't need.

Dr Priya Lal is the founder of High Dental in Melbourne. You can find her here.

What do you use to look after your teeth? Have you ever regretted a dental product purchase?

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