The best way to get a bright smile is to have clean, white teeth. It is important to brush the teeth after every meal, or at least twice a day, and to floss daily. White teeth are universally flattering, and will always make a smile appear brighter. There are many options for whitening teeth at home on your own, or at the dentist.
Aside from brushing and flossing regularly, it is important to have your teeth cleaned every six months at the dentist. Using whitening toothpaste is a good start when trying to get a bright smile. In addition to toothpaste, there is also mouthwash meant to whiten teeth, as well as floss and even gum. These products work more slowly than professional whitening systems, but they can be a great way to whiten teeth over time, and maintain a nice bright smile without spending a lot of money.
If these things do not do enough to help you get a bright smile, you can look into more serious whitening options. There are many kits sold at drugstores that will whiten teeth at home, and they usually take just a few days to a few weeks to complete. The kits may come with strips to stick onto the teeth, trays to fill with whitening gel, or a gel that must be brushed on to the teeth a few times a day. These products will usually whiten teeth a few shades, and the results will last from six months to one year. Professional whitening at the dentist is another option. Though it is considerably more expensive, results are usually achieved within one or two sessions.
The active ingredient in most whitening kits is hydrogen peroxide, which can cause slight temporary sensitivity. Some people rinse their mouths occasionally with peroxide to achieve a similar whitening effect, but be sure not to swallow it. In addition, brushing your teeth once a week with baking soda can help whiten teeth and help you get a bright smile. Though it is often recommended online, never use strawberries or lemon juice to whiten teeth -- these acidic foods can strip enamel off the teeth, and cause irreversible damage.
One of the best ways to get a bright smile is to prevent yellowing in the first place. Coffee, tea, cola, smoking, and red wine can all stain the teeth, so these should be avoided as much as possible. Drinking through a straw can help prevent staining, as well as brushing your teeth relatively soon after you finish drinking. After drinking red wine, swish some water around in your mouth first to prevent the acid from damaging the enamel. Finally, a lipstick with blue undertones will make teeth appear whiter, but avoid lipsticks with warmer, yellow undertones.