The Szish Dish: Red Carpet Boot Camp Diary, Days Three to Seven


I will be on the red carpet in six days. Yikes!

Besides what you've witnessed me experiencing thus far, I've also been busying myself with other get-gorgeous quick fixes that may not translate as well on video. Have I mentioned the Master Cleanse? Count that as one example.

Also in the not-so-much-fun-to-watch bag of borrowed-from-stars tricks is teeth whitening. What says "movie star" more than a perfectly white smile?

Although this process is not terribly exciting to watch, I can tell you with the utmost authority (well, with the utmost authority via my father, who is a dentist) that the best way to whiten teeth is by using the gel and tray method. The so-called miracle light treatments merely dry out the enamel on your teeth and make them look bright temporarily.

But that gleam only lasts a few hours, until the moisture returns to your teeth (In fact, there are no scientific studies that support this method as effective.)

These treatments get you to drop a lot of unnecessary cash to sit in a chair for an hour or so to see a short-term result; often the dentist sends patients home with a bleaching tray maintenance kit, which ultimately is what will make the teeth white.

The drugstore bleaching strips may work over time, but many people I know don't have the patience to keep them on their teeth as frequently as necessary to yield the desired results.

Instead, the best option is to visit your general dentist (you don't need to drop megacash for a "cosmetic" dentist) and have him fit you with custom trays. It's a simple process: Impressions are taken of your upper and lower chompers, sent off to the lab, and in a couple weeks your couture bleaching trays are ready. Then, before bed, squirt a few drops of professional bleaching gel in the trays, pop 'em in and wake up to a brighter smile. I noticed an extra gleam immediately, and maximum results happen over about a four- to five-day period, if used correctly.

However, if visiting your dentist isn't possible (although you should do it twice a year… and don't forget to floss!), I recommend visiting for a surprisingly effective over-the-counter alternative. For about $80, you get a do-it-yourself kit complete with bleaching trays that mold to your teeth after a quick dip in boiling water, along with professional-grade carbamide peroxide. Follow the directions on the box, and you're good to go.

***More from Dr. Szish regarding the Master Cleanse, of which he wholeheartedly disapproves, not just for nutritional reasons but also for potential teeth-damaging ones. The cleanse mixture is essentially comprised of sugar and acid, which is an instant recipe for eroding tooth enamel and therefore can promote tooth decay. In a recent e-mail Dad wrote: "If you're going to continue that un-nourishing, cavity promoting liquid regime, please rinse with plain water every time after you use it. Also use a fluoride mouthwash (such as ACT) and rinse for a full minute before bed."

Got it? Good.

But, enough about the behind-the-scenes stuff. Here, the continuation of my Red Carpet Boot Camp Diary:

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