Think you need to splurge on a bleaching kit to get your teeth looking whiter and brighter? Think again! I have a teeth-whitening tool that'll cost you less than a coffee.
Introducing the humble gum stimulator:
I'm sure you've seen these at the drugstore, or maybe you even have one already on the end of your toothbrush, but don't know what it's for. The best-known one is called, well, GUM Stimulator (by Sunstar).
This rubber-tipped baby has a fine point that you gently wedge between each tooth to help nudge out any stubborn debris, leaving your teeth clean and free of discolouring build-up.
I'm lucky to have pretty great teeth, thanks to good genes and adolescent access to orthodontics. Even still, food often gets trapped in the crevices of my deeply grooved teeth (great imagery, right?).
"That's what floss is for," I can hear you saying. But even after flossing and brushing, I can still feel—and sometimes see—leftover food particles on my teeth, especially those caged with my permanent retainer.
Over time, this constant food contact leads to tooth discolouration and (yuck!) decay.
How to Use a Gum Stimulator
My dental care routine takes a solid six minutes. I start with regular floss, then I use my Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, then a manual toothbrush, then my gum stimulator, and then I rinse.
After running the tip of the gum stimulator under hot water to soften it up, I carefully run it along my gum line to loosen any remaining particles. Like this:
I follow this up with a full rinse. The clean feeling is noticeable, as is the plaque removed from your teeth, giving you that same gross yet satisfying feeling as picking a blemish. (Unlike zits, however, however, using a gum stimulator will have no scarring or ill-effects—just be gentle and your gums will thank you!)
In the times I've gotten lazy with the gum stimulator, I start to notice discolouration forming, especially in the areas that are more difficult to floss. Regular use of the stimulator has definitely helped me to maintain my über-white teeth by removing the surface layer of plaque, and enabling better contact with my toothbrushes and cleansers.
Here's a look at my pearly whites (no editing in this pic, I swear!):
As the tip of your gum stimulator will dull over time, make sure to replace it (along with your toothbrush) every season. You don't need to replace the entire thing—they also sell refill heads.
So there you have it: a teeth freak's nighttime routine. (Did I mention the nightguard and Polident as well? Next time!)
But even if you're more low-maintenance with your teeth than I am, this is one $3 tool I think everyone should have.
Where To Buy
Find the Sunstar GUM Stimulator online at:
Have Your Say
Have you ever used a gum stimulator? What else has helped your teeth stay clean and white? Tell me your tips!