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Is Fancy Toothpaste Worth Shelling Out For?

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In recent months we’ve been seeing a rise in fancy oral hygiene brands. This could be good news for those who’ve been mainlining the blackest of black coffee over the past few months (not to mention the red wine). Just as Dyson spotted an opportunity to reinvent the humble hairdryer, now there’s a focus on toothbrushes and toothpaste, dull daily necessities that have stayed the same for a long time and are ripe for renewal.

And apparently, we’re all brushing our teeth wrong in a most basic way. You shouldn’t wet your brush before applying toothpaste, expert formulator Declan Lenahan tells us: “Adding water dilutes the effectiveness of the toothpaste formula. It also reduces the viscosity of it, reducing the adherence to teeth which is important for the whitening efficacy.” Lenahan explains that wetting your brush first is an inherited habit from the times when toothpaste formulas were a dry paste. Similarly, if you rinse post-brushing you’ll remove any remnant of toothpaste and prevent it from continuing to work once you leave the bathroom. Once you know, you know.

Social media and TV is all a glare with the most unfeasibly white teeth: most often this will be veneers. The most effective way to really get whitened teeth is using trays administered by a dentist. This is more expensive, but entirely safe and with lasting results. But for a temporary or surface quick-fix, can any on-shelf formulas help to brighten your smile?

1 A few Irish brands are in the mix. Spotlight Whitening, devised by the Creaven sisters, both dentists, is now widely available across Ireland, and was creating a buzz in Brown Thomas Galway when I visited this summer. The whitening strips (€39.95) are popular, and there’s even a sonic toothbrush in the collection (€110 at Boots). Toothpaste from €9.50. www.eu.spotlightoralcare.com

2 LA Pacific, which sounds as if it comes from the East Coast, is in fact Irish-owned by NUI-grad and ex-Deloitte consultant Hannah Moore, and has Irish formulator Declan Lenahan behind it (he’s previously worked on pretty well every big brand you’d recognise). It claims to be the world’s first enzymatic whitening toothpaste, so that the whitening is non-abrasive and gentle while still being effective. I like the original whitening toothpaste (€8.99) and the new Gum Health Enzyme Whitening Toothpaste (€10.99) is appealingly minty (though I could live without the CBD extract, which I think is a bit of a fad). It claims 82 per cent stain removal in two minutes of brushing and is vegan and cruelty-free. It’s proven to be safe and non-irritating, unlike many whitening products. At www.Boots.ie

3 Recent new arrivals include Moon Oral Care, with everything from a whitening pen (€25) to charcoal fluoride-free toothpaste (€14). I wouldn’t be drawn by the “fluoride-free” claim – fluoride is the absolute gold standard for cleaning teeth, and no amount of CBD extract is going to do the same thing. Whether a Kardashian uses it or not, I think this is all too concerned with trends and looks over actual results, and it wouldn’t convince me to change from trusted brands, especially at these prices.

4 If I was varying from Colgate Total, and about to spend more on a toothpaste, I’d go for Marvis (at www.Boots.ie) – while it’s supremely good-looking and Italian made, it also does what it says on the tube. From €8.99. I’m also a Euthymol devotee (€2.79), though its pinkness and strong eucalyptus flavour are too much for some. It’s highly antiseptic and refreshing and, for my money, more cop than any charcoal-infused formula – which tend to be horribly messy, anyway – when it comes to cleaning teeth and gums.

5 Polished London (first launched in 2015) is bafflingly expensive at €35 for whitening toothpaste (“maximum fluoride protection”) plus mouthwash. Yes, the mouthwash is all shimmery and pretty, tastes nice and is alcohol-free, which is a bonus, but honestly I can’t see that it’s superior otherwise. Personally, I wouldn’t pay this much just because it comes in a fancy box and is vegan-friendly. The company have recently expanded into body gels so no longer just specialise in oral care. www.polished-london.com

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