Why we’re all talking about ‘Turkey teeth’ and how to get a whiter smile more naturally

Many of us will probably have considered different ways of getting a whiter, healthier smile – but would you resort to “Turkey teeth”?

The craze sees a large number of Brits travel out to countries like Turkey every year to have crowns or veneers fitted in a bid to get a billion dollar smile. However, for this to happen, their natural teeth are irreversibly shaved down.Dr Sahil PatelfromMarylebone Smile Clinicalso points out that not many dentists in Turkey inform the patient of the difference of having crowns – caps placed on top of damaged teeth – and veneers – a layer of porcelain material placed over teeth – fitted.

“You would need to reduce the size of your natural teeth by 5-15% for veneers, and by 50-70% for crowns,” he explains. “This is where the ‘peg teeth’ look comes in, when the dentist is preparing your natural teeth for crowns.”

So if you want a brilliant smile without shaving down your teeth, what can you do instead? Plenty of things, according to Dr Patel. And the best news? Rather than splashing out upwards of £3,000 to have the “Turkey” treatment, these whitening and brightening tricks and treatments cost considerably less.

How to get whiter and brighter teeth more naturally

Make better drink choices

If you’re looking to make your teeth whiter and healthier-looking without splashing any cash, there are some simple swaps that can help you achieve this, including watching what you drink.

“In the short term, red wine can cause teeth to look darker, but white wine can discolour teeth more than red wine over time, due to its high acidity. It’s the same with Prosecco – we call it ‘Prosecco teeth’,” says Dr Patel. “The acidity of the drink eats away at enamel – the tooth's protective surface – which will cause tooth discolouration.”

So what alcoholic drink is the best choice ? Something low in sugar and in acidity, like gin and tonic.

This might also sound obvious, but if you’re a black coffee or tea drinker, this can cause more noticeable staining than if you were to drink the liquid diluted with milk.

What about drinking through a straw ? “Yes this works, but only if you use the straw properly. You want the potentially staining liquid to bypass your front teeth, so if you then swirl it around your mouth after, it defeats the point of using the straw,” explains Dr Patel.

Don’t overdo the hygienist

Contrary to what you might think, paying a visit to your hygienist too often might actually be causing your teeth to discolour. Why? “Go once a year tops because the professional cleaning, or scaling, can damage enamel if performed too often. This can then leave your teeth more susceptible to cavities and yellowing,” Dr Patel advises.

Invest in professional home whitening

Brighten up your smile with a professional teeth whitening treatment and you may find it no longer matters whether or not your teeth are perfectly straight or similarly sized.

“The best way to get long-term whiter teeth is with home whitening performed over a span of two weeks. After we’ve made your custom-fitted moulds, we send you away with enough peroxide gel to see you through nightly use for a fortnight. Once your teeth have reached their brightest shade after the two weeks, you can keep that colour consistent by using the gel once or twice a month,” Dr Patel says.

Prices for teeth whitening at Marylebone Smile Clinic start from £495. See here for more information.

Top tip: Suffer from tooth sensitivity? Dr Patel recommends picking up a tube of Tooth Mousse, around £15 on Amazon, and using it for 30 minutes every night. You can smear it inside your moulds and wear them for half an hour to reduce sensitivity.

Go for dental bonding above crowns

If you’re concerned about the shape and size of some of your teeth, instead of having veneers or crowns fitted, consider booking in for a bit of composite bonding. Your natural teeth don’t need to be filed; instead a natural composite material is bonded onto the teeth to fill in chips or areas of worn enamel, and to reshape the teeth into a more flattering appearance.

Prices for this start from £200 per tooth.

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