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By Dr Aodhan Docherty

1.Are you having enough water?

Water not only keeps us hydrated but also plays an essential role in neutralising the acids which are produced by the bacteria in our mouth. It is these acids which cause tooth decay and regular sipping of water can help to maintain an ideal environment in the mouth. People who experience a dry mouth or those who are dehydrated as at an increased risk of decay which will tarnish a beautiful smile.

2.Chewing gum

We all like to chew gum to keep our breath fresh but did you know that it also helps to stimulate saliva flow? This saliva helps to combat the acids that the bacteria in our mouth produce. Just make sure that it is sugar-free gum!


During our life-time stains build up in our teeth from tea, coffee, red wine and certain foods. These stains start off on the surface of the teeth and slowly embed themselves within the enamel and give them a yellow or darkened appearance. Whitening your teeth is a simple, cost effective means of removing the stains. Whitening gel uses oxygen and other molecules to travel through the enamels natural pores and breaks down the stains. The remainder of the stains then leave back through the enamel pores and the teeth are visibly whiter. There are lots of different whitening agents on the market: toothpastes, strips, dentist provided home whitening and in-chair whitening. I recommended using which ever product fits in with your lifestyle and just make sure that it is delivered by a professional who will ensure the upmost safety.


If food sit on your teeth for a prolonged period of time it first turns into a gooey mass called plaque which is full of bacteria, then later a hard substance called tarter. Both plaque and tarter discolour teeth. The simplest way of keeping your teeth bright and healthy is to have excellent home care involving twice daily effective brushing and once daily flossing. This ensures that you are removing as much of the food from your teeth as possible which not only results in healthy gums and lower risk of decay, but also a brighter smile! Tarter will always build up after some time, and for some this happens much quicker than others hence why a good hygiene appointment (cleaning) at your dentist is often needed.

5.Food and beverages that stain + tobacco

Many foods and drinks naturally stain your teeth more than others. Yes I hate to say the ‘C’ word.. Coffee.. it’s a big one, and so is tea. In my experience those who have less tea, coffee, red wine etc have brighter teeth. Now I am not telling you that you can never have these things (I shudder when I think of a life without coffee) but try and either rinse your mouth out with water after, or brush your teeth to remove the stains before they travel inside the enamel of the teeth. You may have also of heard of using a straw with such beverages to bypass the teeth, and I know this works for some of my patients.

Originally published on The Urban Manual