Every Humanly Possible Way to Whiten Your Teeth

We all want a whiter smile, but getting one takes time and money. Here are the best ways to whiten depending on your budget and schedule.

| February 3rd, 2014

There’s nothing like a mouth full of pearly whites to boost your confidence and plant a big smile on your face. And according to a 2012 Match.com survey of over 5,000 single men and women, the majority of both men (58 percent) and women (71 percent) say teeth are what they judge most when considering going on a date with someone. It beats out grammar, clothing and even hair as the first thing we check out on a potential love interest.

But when you think about it, it’s really not surprising. Your mouth healthcan be a pretty good indication of your overall health, and therefore, how suitable you are as a mate. Sparkling white teeth are a sign of youth and vibrancy while darker, yellow teeth signal aging and all the health woes and degradation that come along with it.

Since giving up teeth-staining foods (like red wine, coffee, soy sauce, tomato sauce) is not realistic, brushing with a whitening toothpaste, like this one from Marvis, and rinsing with a whitening mouthwash (we like Listerine Whitening Plus Restoring Fluoride Rinse), can help remove everyday surface stains. But they won’t give you a drastic color change. “Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes are more effective at maintaining your bright smile after you've undergone a professional in-office or at-home whitening treatment,” says Dr. Emanuel Layliev, cosmetic dentist at the New York Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.

If you think your choppers could use a little extra TLC, you’ve got options. Depending on the level of time and financial commitment you’re willing to put in, you can choose the option that’s best for you.

Minimal Commitment: Makeup
We love a good red lipstick, and fortunately, it can do more than make your kisser look full and sultry: It can also help make teeth appear whiter, says makeup artist Robin McGee, President, Founder and Formulator of Osmosis Colour Cosmetics. “Selecting a lipstick that works with your skintone will enhance the brightness of your smile,” she says, but lipsticks or stains with cool undertones are best to diminish yellow tones in your teeth. “Cherry, plum and rosy pinks are excellent colors for this,” McGee says. Try Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Love That Red, Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Plum Scene, and Tarte Glamazon Pure Performance 12-Hour Lipstick in Pure.

Avoid colors that are too dark, frosted or yellow-based, as they can actually make your teeth look even more discolored, McGee notes. Also, go for a hydrating formula—dryness can accentuate plaque buildup.

You can also take attention away from the teeth by enhancing your eyes and cheeks. “Using a bold color for the eyes, creating sexy cat eyes, or sultry smoky eyes along with a neutral lip color will be a sure way to keep people looking away from your mouth,” McGee says, and highlight cheeks with bronzer. “Remember, showcasing the parts of your face that you love will always allow people to look exactly where you want.”

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