It seems as though we’ve reached peak summer. Glastonbury attendees are sporting their best ‘back to work’ tans, Wimbledon fans’ cream is curdling under the sun and Londoners are flocking to Brighton in higher numbers than the city’s famous seagulls. But where once perfecting your ‘summer look’ simply meant a cursory few rounds on the treadmill and a loud shirt, now more and more are turning to professional teeth whitening to give their summer smile a little extra shine. Indeed, from Love Island contestants to the high street, everyone seems to be wearing pearly white. If you’d like to work on yours, read on; our 5 IDEAL tips for getting your teeth whitened this summer.

DO IT BEFORE YOUR CALENDAR FILLS UP… 

If you’ve been umming and ahhing for a while about getting your teeth done, realise this; now is the time. Summer is when your social calendar is most brimming to bursting. From evening BBQs to music festivals, warm weather brings people together. And where there’s parties, booze and festivities, there’s also selfies and the chance to show off a new look. If you want to flash your new, radiant smile to the most receptive crowd, then summer is the time to do so.

…AND LONG BEFORE YOUR SUMMER HOLIDAY 

Selfie sticks are being lengthened and beach bodies primed. If you’ve got a summer holiday planned, you no doubt want to look your absolute best. Whitening your teeth before you jet off means you’ll smile with confidence for every holiday photo; no more half smiles with your mouth shut. Oh no. 

Do remember, however, that teeth whitening and sensitivity go hand-in-hand. Straight after your treatment, that sensitivity is at its highest. Though there are things you can do to minimise discomfort, like sticking with room temperature beverages just after whitening,  should you have the procedure done just before holiday, understand it’s adieu to that ice cold beer or frozen strawberry daiquiri by the pool. Tooth sensitivity typically lasts for a short period of time, usually between 24–48 hours, so it’s advisable to time your appointment to fall a safe distance prior to your holiday if you’re to enjoy your new smile to its fullest.

GET IT DONE BY A PROFESSIONAL

There are two main options when it comes to whitening your teeth; you can try a DIY method at home or you can have professional teeth whitening treatments at a dental clinic.

It can be tempting to go straight for the DIY teeth whitening kits because of their attractive price tag, lack of appointment necessity and seemingly shorter time commitment. But if you want to see real-deal, real-time results, it’s definitely recommended to find a dentist who offers teeth whitening services. A professional will be able to advise you on exactly what shade of white goes with your complexion, so you don’t end up blinding people with an unnaturally white smile. Let’s face it; the last thing you want is a repeat of the Friends episode where Ross over-whitens his teeth. You know the one where….

A PRIOR PROFESSIONAL CLEAN

You should also have your teeth professionally cleaned before whitening them, regardless of whether you’re going for professional or at-home whitening. Plaque doesn’t whiten, so if your teeth haven’t been properly cleaned beforehand, and there’s lingering plaque on your gnashers, you’ll end up with an uneven finish. In the process of having a professional teeth whitening treatment, the hygienist will be able to clean your teeth before the whitening treatment. So, a dental clinic is the way to go if you’re hoping for dazzling, longer lasting results in this respect too.

LEARN HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR NEW SMILE 

Once you’ve had your teeth whitened, it’s important you spend time looking after them if you want the results to last as long as possible. Make sure you keep up your oral hygiene routine, brushing twice a day and flossing daily. You could also use a whitening toothpaste to maximise the finish. 

Just as crucial in those days following the procedure is to watch what you eat. Certain foods, like tomato based sauces and curries, and drinks like coffee and tea, can stain the teeth, and this threat is exacerbated in the days just after. As a rule, try to avoid foods that cause teeth discolouration. 

As well as looking after your teeth at home, make sure you schedule regular checkups with your dentist. They’ll keep an eye on the colour of your teeth and remove any discolouring plaque if need be.