The Top Ways to Get a Brighter Smile, According to Dentists

Photo: Stocksy

With new skin-care treatments hitting the market pretty much all the time, it's hardly a surprise that oral care is now getting the (sparkly) star treatment in the beauty and wellness worlds. Toothpastes boasting interesting new and natural ingredients are all the rage and toothbrushes, flosses, and the like are getting super Instagrammable. It's all so chic I've honestly thought about live-streaming a post avocado-toast teeth flossing.

The cosmetic dental market is expected to grow nearly 13 percent by 2021.

And it's not looking like the trend is going away anytime soon either: The cosmetic dental market is expected to grow nearly 13 percent by 2021, according to a 2017 GeoPol Monitor report, and over the next three years, the continued quest for dental perfection will raise the industry profits to a new record high of at least $22.4 billion, according to the Cosmetic Dental Association. That's quite a bit of cash in pursuit of a smarter mouth, don't you think?

What's more, these oral-care innovations will do far more than pretty up your already-glowing teeth: They're designed to increase the overall health of your mouth while pearling up your whites and nixing the bad bacteria (but not the good!). That's something to smile about—no doubt.

Scroll down for the coolest new toothpastes, brushes, and more.


For all the whitening pastes you've tried over the years, there's finally a new—but totally natural—ingredient around that's making teeth white: activated charcoal. The irony, of course, is that it's practically pitch black. "Charcoal is known to remove impurities from the surface of your teeth, thereby making them look lighter," says Shaun Flynn, DDS, a Los Angeles dentist. "But because charcoal can be abrasive, it's important to use caution with these types of toothpastes."

"Charcoal is known to remove impurities from the surface of your teeth, thereby making them look lighter."

Alternatively, many brushes are now tricked out with charcoal-based bristles for a similar effect without the messy mouth. While not as efficacious as activated charcoal itself, these brushes can provide a similar abrasive effect without actually scratching the teeth's respective surfaces, says Dr. Flynn. Try pairing the charcoal bristles with a luxe toothpaste in a flavor such as rose, which feels like two-minute spa moment in your morning and evening routines.

Mouthwashes and rinses

The ancient Ayurvedic tradition of oil pulling is a bit like using mouthwash except you're using oil and you're holding it in your mouth for about 20 minutes. While pulling continues to be trendy in oral care, dentists are split. "Oil pulling does have some benefit, particularly for those who don't practice regular good oral hygiene as it has anti-bacterial properties," says John Moore Jr., DDS, a San Antonio dentist.

But other dentists are inclined to disagree, suggesting you're better off with your tried-and-true, brush-and-floss routine instead. "While I understand the theory behind oil pulling, I don't actually recommend it for one main reason," says Dr. Flynn. "Oil pulling is used to remove bad bacteria in the mouth, but in doing so, [it] removes some of the good bacteria as well."


Obviously the toothbrush is a mainstay in oral care, but electronic toothbrushes are the new powerhouses of the tech-meets-health beauty game. "There are many advantages to using an electronic toothbrush," says James Hagen, the founder and CEO of Boka, a new oral-care line.


Toothbrushes can now send your dentist a full report on your brushing skills.

Beyond getting you to brush for a long enough time (two full minutes!) and making sure you clean the hard-to-reach places, some electronic toothbrushes are "smart" and linked to apps that offer live feedback. "It tells you if the pressure you're exerting is adequate for the pressure setting you've chosen, while also identifying the areas you haven't cleaned well enough," says Gregg Lituchy, DDS, a New York City dentist.

Flossers, whiteners, and other innovations

Whitening pens are becoming increasingly popular because they make application precise and the newest pens—all-natural, at that—only require about 15 seconds of drying time.

More efficient floss design is also on the rise, and there's been a lot development when it comes to cleaning the tongue, too. "Eighty to ninety percent of bad breath comes from the tongue, according to a study from the SUNY Buffalo School of Dental Medicine," Hagen says. "Most people don't even clean their tongue properly—or at all. A proper tongue cleaner should be used daily."

Now that you've upgraded your oral-care routine, get the rest of your bathroom in shape with these top-notch shower tools. Or, try these tips to transform your tub into a spa for under $20.

Loading More Posts...