For years, Americans used the term ‘British teeth’ as derogatory shorthand for anyone not blessed with a bright, white Hollywood smile. However, according to recent findings, they may have to come up with a new insult – because we’re now forking out more on our teeth than they are.
We spent a whopping £1 billion on dental products in 2013, and that figure is set to increase by as much as 22 per cent by 2018.
What’s more, a new study by University College London and Harvard University found British dental health is, in fact, no worse than that of Americans. We now have more choices in how to take care of our teeth than before – and these new products are stylish.
If you’ve visited the dental aisle in the supermarket lately, this will perhaps come as no surprise. After all, where once our only choices for taking care of our teeth were hard bristles or soft, blue or pink, now there are untold numbers of toothbrushes.
And that’s before you get to the toothpaste or ‘tooth cleansers’, as they’re now often known – no longer just ‘mint’, but in mouth-watering flavours and prettily packaged like beauty products. Here’s our guide to the new, chic ways to clean your teeth.
Forget bristles – Foreo’s Issa toothbrush not only comes in a rainbow of colours, but it also looks stunning and is made entirely from silicone. This, the manufacturer claims, means your toothbrush head is not only more hygienic than a conventional bristle one (because the silicone is non-porous and dries quickly, so resists bacterial build-up), but is also more durable, so it lasts for a year. The maker also says you’ll get a whopping six months out of a single charge.
That said, the product doesn’t seem to have any research to support its efficacy and user opinion is divided – some say the head is too big and the bigger, softer ‘bristles’ mean teeth never feel properly clean, while others with sensitive gums rave about it.
Philips upped the ante on electric toothbrushes a few years back with DiamondClean, which charges via a sleek USB case and comes in a host of slick colours. And now it has an optional tongue cleaning head. This small, flat, silicone head has 240 microbristles, which, along with the vibrations generated by the toothbrush, apparently help to work the antibacterial agents in the accompanying spray deep into the tongue.
According to Philips, this gets rid of bacteria that can build up on your tongue, causing bad breath, and cleans two-and-a-half times better than brushing the tongue with a manual brush.
But if you are more of a manual girl, check out Reinast’s Everlasting Titanium Toothbrush. It may cost from around a staggering £2,900, but it’s meant to last a lifetime, and users are sent five new bristle heads every six months.
Black paste to whiten teeth
A whitening toothpaste that’s black might sound a little confusing, but Curaprox Black Is White toothpaste – which comes in sleek, matte black packaging – claims to remove discolouration using activated carbon.
Activated carbon is commonly found in water filters and air filtering systems because of its ability to draw out impurities. In toothpaste, it has the same effect, binding itself to stains, plaque and bacteria, leaving teeth looking brighter.
Other new toothpastes are just as unorthodox. Dawood & Tanner has rebranded its toothpaste as Tooth Cleansers, with flavours such as Sicilian Lemon and Brazilian Lime. They come in elegant pumps instead of boring old tubes. This mouthwash features clove bud and aniseed.
Developed by a dentist, the cleansers derive their unusual flavours from natural essential oils, and contain fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel, xylitol to prevent decay and sodium bicarbonate to help remove stains.
Gadgets that floss for you
In a similar vein, you can now get fruit-flavoured floss. Radius Cranberry Floss is impregnated with cranberry – not just for the flavour, but also because the fruit contains a natural antibacterial agent. For extra style points, pop it in a floss dispenser by Italian design brand Alessi.
But, really, waxed string is old-school when it comes to cleaning the crevices between your teeth. Now, multiple gadgets promise to do the hard work for you.
Waterpik uses jets of water and is proven to be an effective alternative to traditional dental floss for removing plaque and reversing gingivitis. The brand’s gadgets are not entirely stylish, however. Philips’s AirFloss, meanwhile, is a far slicker-looking device, despite doing something similar – sending out bursts of air mixed with water or mouthwash.
Pearly whites the American way
For years, Brits holidaying in America have stocked up on Crest White Strips, sold over-the-counter as a quick and easy way of whitening the teeth. You simply apply the strips – which are like tape – daily to the upper and lower teeth, leave for an hour, and, two weeks later, you’ll have removed years’ worth of stains. Now, they are finally available in the UK, rebranded as Oral-B 3D White Whitestrips.
Because European regulations differ from those in the US, the UK version has a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide, the bleaching agent – and you have to get them from a dentist.
Rinse with pink grapefruit
Designed – according to founder Craig Dubitsky – to look and taste better than the competition, Hello Breath Sprays and Mouthwash are vegan, alcohol-free and made without dyes.
Even better, they come in flavours such as Mojito Mint and Pink Grapefruit and are packaged in slick dispensers designed by BMW.
And for the truly chic, Aesop also does an alcohol-free mouthwash, which features clove bud and aniseed to ‘protect olfactory contentment of those in close proximity’. – Claire Coleman, Daily Mail