Supporting whiter smiles
Tooth whitening has been popular for some time. In fact, there is reason to believe that the practice of whitening our teeth even dates back to as far as 2000 BC when Ancient Egyptians would make a paste comprised of pumice stone and wine vinegar to whiten their smiles. Of course, things have come a long way since then, and today’s whitening treatments tend to be peroxide gels, ultraviolet light and toothpastes with carefully chosen ingredients.
But why has tooth whitening been such an enduring fascination?
An indicator of health
A potential reason behind our quest for a whiter smile is perhaps that from a biological point of view, white teeth are typically an indicator of good health. Although dental professionals will know this isn’t necessarily true, straight, white teeth suggest no problems and therefore indicate better overall health. In contrast, cracked, missing or decayed teeth send the opposite message – indicating to our primal instincts that a person with these features may have poorer general health.
There is some truth in this instinctual reaction – missing teeth and visible decay can be an indication of underlying health conditions. For example, missing teeth, in particular, have been linked to an increased risk of hypertension. But we also need to remember that people with white teeth can still have gum disease and significant problems that don’t cause discolouration and other readily visible signs.
Attraction and status
As white teeth are seen as a good health indicator, this also means that they impact how attractive a person is perceived to be. In fact, a survey that asked people about what physical feature they deemed most attractive in potential partners discovered that the smile was ranked at the very top, beating other features such as eyes, hair and body shape.
We also have to think about how white teeth have become a status symbol. While this is inextricably related to the fact that white teeth supposedly boost attraction, it also comes with its own appeal in that cosmetic treatments such as full sets of veneers are expensive. Celebrities throughout the years have begun to boast more and more perfect smiles, and this in turn has boosted demand for tooth whitening and cosmetic procedures, as people want to replicate the smiles they see on television or in magazines. We also can’t discount the impact of social media. Influencers (individuals with substantial followings on these channels) are just as impactful as celebrities, and because these individuals regularly promote treatments such as tooth whitening, this only helps to fuel the desire for people to have a straighter, whiter smile.
Of course, what this all translates to is a significant demand for tooth whitening products among the general population. Before the pandemic, a survey of 1,000 UK individuals found that 43 per cent of participants wanted tooth whitening or cosmetic procedures. Now this demand is likely to be even higher, as dentists have been reporting a larger demand for cosmetic procedures following the Covid-19 crisis.
This is thought to be because people are spending extended time on video calls and other communication channels where they can see themselves when they speak. As people are looking at themselves more often, this means that any flaws in their smiles are becoming more noticeable on a subconscious level.
For dentists, this is a great opportunity to provide whitening treatments in practice. However, it’s important to offer patients products they can use to maintain and optimise results at home. Using whitening toothpastes, for example, is an excellent way to shift surface stains and get fast results, and as patients can control how often they use these products, it means they can take the whitening journey into their own hands.
The new Arm & Hammer Whitening Pro Protect toothpaste is a simple way to aid their whitening progress. Combining the natural power of baking soda with liquid calcium technology, the daily toothpaste both whitens and strengthens teeth, helping to ensure a brighter, healthier smile.
Open up the options
The demand for tooth whitening solutions is likely to stay high. As such, it’s a good idea to explore the different options that you can offer patients as well as offer solutions they can use at home to aid this journey, like clinically proven whitening toothpastes.
References available on request.