Fast Forward: Brush strokes

You could spend thousands at the dentist with a screaming drill ... or buy a techno tooth-aid and go DIY. Photographs by Phil Ward

We spend more than pounds 420m a year on toothbrushes and dental accessories in Britain, so you'd expect people's mouths to be in pretty good shape. Not so: it is estimated that three out of four people will be suffering from gum disease by the time they are 35. It's no surprise to hear that healthy teeth and gums depend on regular brushing (twice a day, like your Mum told you) and flossing. Even then you need to take care - make sure you brush each part of the mouth long enough and not too hard.

As a nation, we're not very good at it, so to help us get it right, manufacturers have come up with a range of gadgets, the most advanced of which is a toothbrush that uses sonic vibrations (believe it). The latest buzz word in dentistry is interdental cleaning (doing the gaps between teeth) and there are devices specifically for this, which are especially useful for those who hate manual flossing. So, no excuses for not keeping your teeth and dentist happy. Shame about all the white plastic and pastel colours.

Michael Oliveira-Salac and Martin Skegg

Alert Toothbrush (right) Designed to prevent over-zealous brushing which can cause injury to gums and teeth - the light warns you when you are pressing too hard. pounds 9 plus p&p. Available by mail order from Portner, Pittack & Associates on 0181-349 3924.

Janina Oral Cosmetique (top far right)

A paste which helps to whiten teeth safely without being abrasive, by using a combination of enzymes. pounds 8.95 Available by mail order from CTS on 01737 765 400.

Boots Microclean toothpaste (centre far right) Contains micro granules to keep your teeth "hygienist fresh". Available in Fresh Mint, Baking Soda, and Glacial Mint flavours, pounds 2.19, from Boots.Mouth Scraper (bottom far right) Double-sided with bristles and a scraper that removes the gunge from your tongue and so combats bad breath. Use daily, but not when anyone else is watching. pounds 2.50 Available by mail order from CTS on 01737 765 400.

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