I recently wrote about my Glow Up: a period of self care, transformation, and general physical and emotional fabulousness that I so desperately need. One of the quick wins I’m going for is a mouth makeover of sorts. I don’t mean expensive lip plumping injections or lengthy dental work, I am talking about teeth whitening and fresh breath goals; working with what I’ve got and taking care of it.
Hand on heart, I’ve been to the dentist once in the last twenty years, and that was when I was pregnant with Spaghetti Legs and dentist visits were free on the NHS. With all the crazy hormones and blood vessels of pregnancy I bled at the slightest touch of the hygienist and I’ve never been in a hurry to go back.
Until now. I’ve rested on my laurels long enough, telling anyone who’ll listen that as old as I am I “haven’t a filling in my head“. But that’s not enough. I’m starting to develop sensitivity to sweet things (my god, why have you forsaken me?) and my teeth definitely aren’t as white as they used to be owing to my high dependence on coffee and the occasional bifter (I also eat a lot of spag bol and if the contents of my dishwasher are anything to go by, I reckon it works the same for teeth as it does for tupperwares).
Anyway I’m due a check up and I want to swot up before I go, so I don’t get into too much trouble with the Dentist. Enter the teeth whitening and fresh breath products that I’ve been road testing. Here’s what I’ve been packing in my oral arsenal…
Colgate Max White Toothpaste and Optic White 2-in-1 Whitening Kit
I’ll be honest with you here; when I’m doing the big shop I go for whatever’s on offer because that’s what everyone does, right? But by in large I always stick with a brand I’ve grown up with, and Colgate was a pretty obvious choice when I began looking for whitening toothpastes that you can buy in the supermarket or easily online.
The toothpaste had a nice, almost hot, fresh tingle to it. Not too strong or out of the ordinary, and I was pleased with the results. It promises whiter teeth in 5 days and although I wasn’t counting (sorry – I’d make a shit scientist) my teeth are lighter, less yellowy-cream colour. Ticking the teeth whitening and fresh breath box already, I was off to a great start.
The 2-in-1 Whitening Kit is a whitening gel pen which fits handily inside a real toothbrush. Full disclosure here: I didn’t read the instructions properly (blame my mother – it runs in the family) and thought that you twist the pen and the gel comes out of the toothbrush head.
It’s not even possible to do that.
So anyway, moving on from my impatience and stupidity, once I’d cleaned the gooey mess up I started using it properly and I’m pretty much a dab hand cause I’m no stranger to using grout pens to hide mould on my bathroom tiles (I don’t think I’ll be starring in a Colgate advert any time soon, do you?).
It’s nice tasting, and as long as you don’t mind kinda drying your teeth first so the gel can get a bit more purchase, it applies easily. For this reason, I find the top front teeth easier to treat than my bottom teeth, but who wants to look like Donald Trump anyway? (Have you ever noticed how you only ever see his bottom teeth? If you haven’t before, you will now)
The gel isn’t meant to be washed off – you have to give it time to work – so I always do it last thing at night, give it a little spread around with my finger, and spit out any residue that’s stuck to my lips or got caught in my hamster cheeks.
As far as results go for both of the Colgate whitening products, it’s subtle but it’s real. We’re not talking Ross from Friends here (thank God) but we are talking healthier looking, whiter teeth on the ones I’ve been successfully able to treat (my Bugs Bunnies, not my Donald Trumps).
Of course, if I were to have tested them at all scientifically then I would’ve tested one side of my mouth with one product and vice versa or something like that. But as we know, I’m impatient, and just went at it hell for leather with both of them.
Ultradex Dental Care
It’s been a while since I used Ultradex – or Retardex as I think it used to be called for its ability to stop bacteria and yuckiness in its tracks – but I knew it’d be a good place to start with my problem. Or should I say my son’s problem, because it’s him and his 3 year old sass that has a problem with my morning breath. It only takes one mention of “Mummy don’t kiss me with your smelly face” to make you feel quite rubbish about yourself.
So I tested out a bundle of products that the team at Ultradex sent me in my hour of need (you can find out where to buy it all online here):
Ultradex Daily Oral Rinse
I love this stuff; it doesn’t burn your face off like some of the other mouth washes I’ve tried (soz, Listerine). In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking it doesn’t do anything useful it’s so mild – but it does. Whack the sachet of mint flavour liquid in and you’re immediately transported to the dentist’s chair in the comfort of your own home.
Perfect for freshening up throughout the day – especially before close encounters, meetings, or in my case, kissing your own offspring.
Low Abrasion Toothpaste
This is another dentisty-tasting product; you can almost smell the latex gloves and see a bright light as you start brushing. It’s non foaming, which can come as a bit of a surprise, and I find myself over compensating by brushing like crazy.
It’s designed to combat bacteria and promote fresh breath, which as a caffeine addict and mother to the world’s harshest critic, I quite clearly need. It does a fab job and although I still like the Colgate which I’m so familiar with, I like this Low Abrasion Toothpaste for in between; sometimes after lunch or for last thing at night.
Fresh Breath Oral Spray
If you haven’t got time for a good brush after the world’s most garlicky lunch before the world’s most important meeting then at least have a swill of the mouthwash and spritz of the Ultradex spray. Easy to keep in your desk drawer or handbag, and does what it says on the tin and it only needs a quick spray to do the job.
I don’t know how to spell the noise my brain makes whenever I think of the words ‘tongue’ and ‘scrape’ together, but apparently it’s a thing.
I wasn’t, unlike the popular girls in school, born with the gift of a non-existent gag reflex. Even giving my tongue the once-over with my toothbrush brings tears to my eyes. But in the interests of research I was prepared to give it a go – and let’s just say you’re lucky I’m a blogger and not a vlogger cause it was not a pretty sight watching me prepare myself for what’s basically a smear test for the mouth.
|‘Smear test for the mouth’|
However, it strikes me that there’s something infinitely more hygienic about having a dedicated washable tongue scraper than coating the bristles of your toothbrush with a white gunge full of bacteria and god knows what else.
In the end I gave it to my friend and she loves it because she is disgusting. She says she uses it every day. I bet she does, the dirty cow. Meanwhile I stuck to the other teeth whitening and fresh breath products.
It’s not just enough to swill, brush, and scrape (yuck) the stench out of your gob; you’ve got to floss too. I tried out the Wire Free Interdental Brushes and the Anti Bacterial Coated Interdental Tape. I managed to cut myself with the first use of the snazzy little brushes (there’s a recurring theme of stupidity here) so in the end I preferred the tape which was within even my capabilities.
Plackers Dental Flossers
On that last ill-fated visit to the dentist, I did come away with some Plackers which I hadn’t heard of before (and no wonder, if you avoid the dentist like the plague) which are really good if you don’t fancy interdental brushes or flossing tape. You can pick them up on Amazon for a few quid and I only recently found out that you can bend the handle back to reveal a handy little tooth pick too. The more you know, eh?
Sonic Chic Electronic Toothbrush
It’s been years since I’ve used a leccy toothbrush (there’s a long boring story behind this to do with a charlatan electrician who gave me the runaround over shaving sockets in my bathroom but I won’t go into that here for the sake of my blood pressure) and I do miss it. It was nice to have that whizzy clean feeling again. The Urban range uses AAA batteries and the Deluxe versions are USB chargeable.
The Sonic Chic is compact and has its own holder which makes it ideal for travelling, visiting friends, or going out straight from work (although the days of getting changed into an LBD in front of Denise from Accounts and accidentally unplugging the fax machine just to use my hair straighteners before office parties are thankfully over for me).
They’re well priced and the cute designs (everything from colourful hearts to the rather stylish Rose Gold) make them a nice pressie for all ages. I’d recommend one as a stocking filler for teenagers (and beyond – who says Santa is only for kids?), travel bloggers, or to keep in your desk drawer for a post-lunchtime freshen up. Buy them online from Amazon or at Boots.
So there’s the lowdown on the ‘Gob’ chapter of my Glow Up. What are your top tips and favourite products for teeth whitening and fresh breath? And most importantly – do you brush your tongue or are you a gagger like me?