Since Covid-19, keeping quarantine at home has been the new normal. When you're trapped indoors, you tend to make up your own fun—you go down the reading list of all the unread books on your bookshelf; the study room gets tidied up; you decided to start baking just to break in the oven.
Then you lapse into that familiar comfort, where hygiene retreats south. During this entire Circuit Breaker, I'm becoming more aware of my teeth. They are average-looking chompers that could use a little brightening up. While the years of coffee-imbibing has given me unbridled alertness and shaky disposition, my veneers have tanned.
There two reasons why teeth can lose their lustre and both of them involves your diet. Food or drinks that are high in tannins can stain, just like the aforementioned caffeine intake. The other reason is enamel thinning. The average tooth has four major components: the outer hard enamel (coloured white); below that is dentin (that's yellow/brown); beneath that is the soft dental pulp and covering the root of the tooth is cementum. Acids, gum diseases and ageing can wear down the enamel to reveal the yellowed dentin.
Mild bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking soda can whiten your teeth. Then there are treatments that use light; a usual session involves whitening gel (hydrogen peroxide) applied to the teeth and then basked under blue light to speed up the process but as with anything (especially when it involves bleach chemicals) there are health risks like temporary teeth sensitivity or irritation to the gums.
Better brushing through the lack of chemistry
If you're looking for a chemical-free option, you can brush after meals to retard the enamel thinning or use an electric toothbrush to whiten teeth.
Electric toothbrushes whiten teeth by removing extrinsic stains. It makes your teeth appear to look whiter but it cannot change the baseline shade of your teeth. Meaning, your natural tooth colour is rarely paper-white. If anything, natural teeth colour would be either light grey or tawny (due to the somewhat translucent enamel that shows off the dentine).
Can you achieve the same result of the removal of extrinsic dental stains with a manual toothbrush? Not as well as an electric one. We used a Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart toothbrush for the stain removal process. The device boasts "62,000 brush movements per minute"; the vibration allowing for more micro-movements as the brush sweeps across your teeth. It also comes with five brush heads (Clean, White+, Deep Clean+, Gum Health and Tongue Care+) that you can switch out for a more precise brushing.
Pair the DiamondClean Smart model to the Sonicare app in your smartphone and you'll get live feedback while you brush. From detecting which area you're brushing at to the amount of pressure, you're applying to whether you're making excessive movements with your brushing.
We didn't expect to see results this immediate but my teeth look whiter (not Hollywood-white) and natural. I look (somewhat) presentable for Zoom meetings but now I just need to start smiling more…
Philips' Sonicare DiamondClean toothbrush retails for SGD399 and is available at leading electronics stores, major department stores and selected authorised dealers.