We always like to look our best in public, and our teeth can certainly help boost moral and confidence levels when we smile. Of course it also helps if your teeth are gleaming white and in good shape. Seeing your dentist regularly is one way to ensure that your teeth (and smile) are in the best shape as well as using toothpastes that can assist with whitening, or bleaching.

Whitening your teeth is something you could quite successfully do yourself at home, provided that your teeth are not too stained and using a range of over-the-counter toothpastes readily available for the purpose. Alternately, your family dentist should be able to assist you if you would prefer professional guidance. Either way, it is a safe and effective process provided you follow the maker’s instructions carefully. Over time our teeth become stained and discolored through various causes such as smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol and eating certain foods and we can usually see the tainting quite clearly when we look at ourselves in the mirror. Whitening teeth involves using specific pastes and gels that go about bleaching or removing those unsightly stains that make our teeth look yellow

When choosing whitening toothpaste, you need to consider the active ingredients, texture, safety, effectiveness and of course price too:

• Arm & Hammer Extra Whitening. A well balanced toothpaste containing peroxide and baking soda for extra whitening as well as cavity-fighting fluoride. It comes in a 6oz pack and has a fresh mint taste.

• Rembrandt Premium Whitening. The only whitening toothpaste clinically proven to assist in preventing canker sores in the mouth. It safely whitens teeth using active ingredients. Comes in 30x pack with a minty taste.

• Opalescence Whitening Toothpaste. Recommended by many dentists, although some suggesting weekend use only due to high potency. Available in 4.7oz pack in a cool mint flavor.

• Crest 3D White Advanced. Uses a white bond protection agent which whitens teeth by polishing out surface stains in the enamel and preventing new stains forming. Also fights cavities, tartar and plaque. Comes in a 4.1oz pack in vibrant mint flavor.

• Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening Toothpaste. Formulated to protect against acid erosion of teeth. Easily removes stains and also contains fluoride to protect your teeth and gums from the usual onslaughts. Comes in 4oz pack in refreshing “Alpine Breeze” flavor.

There are several good products to choose from when looking to whiten your teeth at home. If in doubt about any claims, check first to see if the product is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Your family dentist will certainly be happy to share their own thoughts on product ranges, and they may even have their own recommendations to make!