4 ways to anti-age your teeth

We asked a dental expert for fast, easy ways to fix your biggest teeth woes

Issue: you’ve got staining

What is it?
Stained teeth are the result of some of life’s most pleasurable pastimes: drinking coffee, sipping red wine or dining on curry. But discoloured teeth are also one of the fastest ways to hike up your perceived age.

"Plaque absorbs the colour of this food and transfers it to the enamel where it leaves behind a stain,” explains dentist Dr Sanjay Hirekodi from the Dental Practice in Bathurst. Beige to yellow-tinged teeth respond best to whitening, one of the fastest ways to make you and your teeth look younger.

To the rescue
“The first port of call is a professional clean and polish,” he says. Then if stains remain, custom trays (from $500 to $600) allow for the gentle delivery of teeth-brightening hydrogen peroxide. “Worn for a few hours daily, it can lighten by five to ten shades and the results can last three to seven years.”

And when it’s time for a top-up? All you need is a fresh bottle of whitening gel ($30-$40 from your dentist). Over-the-counter products work to varying degrees. Our expert’s pick? Whitening strips. Try Oral-B 3D White Whitestrips.

Oral-B 3D White Whitestrips

Issue: you’ve got erosion

What is it?
As many as 50% of Australian women experience acid wear thanks to acidic foods (think fruit, salad dressing and soft drink). But it’s not just what goes into your body that can deteriorate teeth. Turns out stomach acid is most damaging of all.

“People with medical conditions such as acid reflux or who were frequently sick while pregnant will find their teeth are more worn,” explains Dr Hirekodi.

Erosion can weaken teeth and lead to more visible damage: chipping. Once teeth wear, the vertical dimension of your face can change. “The chin appears more prominent, causing a hollowing of the face, and that can definitely be ageing,” he adds.

To the rescue
First, limit your intake of acidic foods. Don’t brush for 15-30 minutes after eating and use a straw when sipping juice. “If you are prone to acid water, a fluoride mouthwash will help to remineralise the teeth,” Dr Hirekodi says.

Issue: you’ve lost a tooth

What is it?
Beyond a certain age, no one welcomes a visit from the tooth fairy. So why do we lose teeth? “Teeth can fall out for a number of different reasons, like traumatic injuries or severe gum disease,” Dr Hirekodi explains. “But in many cases they’re taken out due to ongoing pain from fractures or tooth decay.”

To the rescue
It’s no secret, the key to healthy teeth is excellent oral hygiene. To Dr Hirekodi that means a good twice-daily clean and a once-a-day floss. And if you do lose a tooth? The good news is, gaps can be closed by several methods. The no-so-good news? It doesn’t come cheap.

“When a single tooth needs replacing, we insert a dental implant [around $5000 per tooth] or a bridge [between $1500 and $5000 per tooth] which we fix to teeth on each side of the gap. For multiple gaps, a denture [$700 to $1600] can be made to fit,” Dr Hirekodi says.

Issue: your gums are receding

What is it?
Tucked away out of view, gums can recede over time without us even noticing. “There are two major reasons that gums recede,” Dr Hirekodi explains. “One, periodontal disease, and two, a bad brushing technique that can irritate gums and cause them to retreat.”

To the rescue
To ease the pressure on your gums, use a brush with softer bristles, or an electric toothbrush. Next, tune up your brushing technique. “Move in a light, circular or up-and-down motion so that gums are gently cleaned, but not scrubbed. And no horizontal brushing,” says Dr Hirekodi. Too easy! Before you know it, your smile will look younger than you do.

Main image credit: Getty

Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.