Apothecary: Brighten Your Smile

This image is no longer available

Maintaining a dazzling Hollywood smile à la the George Clooneys and Julia Robertses of the world becomes harder as we age. Not only is there staining from foods, as Toronto-based dentist Dr. Kenneth Montague explains, “With many years of tooth brushing, you’re making that white, translucent enamel thinner. You start to see through it and expose the yellow dentin core
underneath. Hence, our teeth look more yellow.”

What’s the first step in the quest for a brighter smile? “One of the great things you can do at any stage of your life is to stop using a hard toothbrush,” says Montague. Boost your brushing with Listerine Whitening Plus Restoring ($10), the only rinse to whiten teeth that is also recognized by the Canadian Dental Association for strengthening tooth enamel.

To remove stains, Montague points to three methods. The first is over-the-counter whitening strips, which, he says, is the least expensive but can also be the least effective as “they tend to be abandoned because they take a lot of time,” sometimes requiring twice-a-day use for two weeks. Newer products like Crest 3D White 2-Hour Express Whitestrips ($60),  which only need to be used once every three months, may address these compliance issues. Or consumers may find toothpastes like Colgate Optic White ($5), which uses the same whitening ingredients as strips, easier to incorporate into their daily routine.

The second method is the take-home kit from the dentist, which Montague calls a “huge step up” in terms of results. It involves a customized mouth tray with tooth wells that are filled with a carbamide solution. The tray is worn for an hour at bedtime for two or three days.

According to Montague, the most effective method – and the one with the least sensitivity issues as it uses a protective gel on the gums – is the in-office, light-activated whitening procedure. The process can be done in 15-minute stages until the desired results are achieved, allowing predictable results.

But dedicated gadget hounds should check out the GLO Brilliant Personal Teeth Whitening Device, above centre ($290) from Sephora. The kit includes a rechargeable mouthpiece that combines heat and light to activate a whitening gel.


Flake ID

Contrary to some theories, dandruff isn’t a problem of adolescence and doesn’t always peak at 40. In fact, for some it’s lifelong.

Dandruff can be caused by several different conditions, ranging from simple dry skin to disorders like eczema and psoriasis. A major culprit is a micro-organism called malassezia that thrives in sebaceous areas like the scalp. The link is not clear, but people recovering from heart attacks and strokes or those with certain neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease are also more susceptible to a flaky scalp. For dandruff protection, try Head & Shoulders Green Apple ($6).  With an energizing scent, it leaves your scalp and hair feeling fresh and clean for longer.







Prevage Night Anti-aging Restorative Cream ($160) is a super-cocktail of antioxidants and moisturizers to refresh your skin while you sleep, when it is especially receptive to hydration. We love its one-touch dispensing system, which keeps the product sealed. The Prevage line includes day, eye and body creams that contain the synthetic antioxidant idebenone – which, the company says, is the single most powerful antioxidant compared to kinetin, CoQ12 or vitamins A or E.


(April 2012)