Like many people, I wish I had whiter teeth. You wouldn’t guess that from my habits, which seem specifically designed to turn my smile the same shade of yellow as a high-vis jacket. I’m talking several black coffees a day; smoking cigarettes on nights out; having red wine as my drink of choice; occasionally falling asleep without cleaning my teeth when I’ve had too much of that red wine. And yet there’s something so appealing about a fresh white smile. I don’t mean Z-list-celebrity-style dazzlers; just something natural and clean-looking.
I’ve always assumed that’s beyond my reach, because not only are my habits unlikely to promote clean-looking teeth, I also can’t face having my teeth whitened. The problem is that on my top left side, they are incredibly sensitive. If I dare to consume something they don’t like – ice cream, say, or too much citrus fruit – they pretty much go on strike, becoming so sensitive I can’t bite down on anything for weeks, and have to chew exclusively on my right side. What they’d do if I had them bleached doesn’t bear thinking about. My fear is such that when the You & Your Wedding team reviewed all the different whitening treatments out there, I was the only one who didn’t take part. So I really feel for any brides-to-be who are in the same boat. Teeth whitening is an increasingly popular pre-wedding treatment, which makes sense – your wedding day is supposed to be full of smiles, most of which will be captured on camera. This is not such a fun prospect if you’re self-conscious about your pearly not-so-whites, but suffer from sensitivity that means having them whitened is only going to cause you pain.
So when I was given the chance to review the Polish & Perfect treatment at RW Perio in London, I jumped at the chance. That’s because this oral health appointment involves a special Airflow polishing procedure – and although teeth whitening fills me with trepidation, the idea of having my teeth professionally cleaned struck me as the perfect solution to my increased staining. In fact, I was so focused on the cleaning element that when I sat down with Dr Reena Wadia, founder of RW Peiro, a part of me wished we could skip straight to it. However, the results of the initial assessment actually turned out to be just as interesting (and useful) as having my teeth polished.
When it comes to oral health, Dr Wadia knows her stuff
I’d already filled out a questionnaire in the waiting room, and Dr Wadia began by asking me for further details about my answers. Normally, I get a bit defensive in this sort of situation (“What does it matter that I have six coffees a day? I’m not forcing you to drink them, am I?!”). Dr Wadia, however, was entirely non-judgmental. She didn’t even flinch when I revealed that my flossing routine is largely non-existent. She asked about my diet an brushing habits, and then she and her assistant used a machine to take a close-up picture of my teeth. This was a picture I could have lived without seeing.
As I wince, Dr Wadia reminds me that this is a seriously close-up image – hardly anyone’s gnashers will stand up to that sort of scrutiny, aesthetically speaking. After a thorough examination, she’s ready to deliver her verdict – and it’s not all bad. My teeth are, overall, healthy – and that’s what really counts. Yes, I’d like them to be whiter, but as she lists the sort of mouth problems to look out for (and the health implications of these), I realise that I’m actually pretty lucky. Dr Wadia is particularly hot on gum health – and the implications of neglecting this can be very serious, from receding gums to tooth loss. She helps me fine-tune my brushing technique, so I’m getting the perfect clean on both tooth and gum. Through trial and error, she helps me find a way to floss that I’m actually happy to do – floss picks, if you’re interested – and shows me how to use interdental brushes. We talk about my diet, and while she’s forgiving of my coffee habit, she hones in on the fact that I eat a lot of citrus fruit. This is a habit that can erode tooth enamel – and semi-see-through teeth are definitely not a good look. She suggests cutting down, and rather than munching on satsumas and pineapple throughout the day, getting my citrus fix once only – giving my mouth one hit of damage to deal with rather than a constant attack.
And now it’s time for the polishing. I settle down in the surprisingly comfy chair, prepared for a nice, long clean – and am astonished when Dr Wadia tells me it’s finished after what feels like seconds. This, it turns out, is due to the incredible power of the airflow system she uses. It doesn’t damage teeth in any way, but removes stains extremely effectively. Dr Wadia explains that this treatment isn’t just for teeth-whitening-refuseniks – if you have this done ahead of a teeth whitening treatment, it can make the latter even more effective.
Dr Wadia’s healthy gums guide
My smile looks better than it has done in years. And armed with my bespoke dental care plan, I’m determined to make sure my teeth and gums stay healthy, too.