By Laura Casewell
It’s no secret that a pearly white smile is something that many of us aim for, but our modern diet (who doesn’t like a glass of red wine) can often hinder our quest for “perfect” white teeth. But what makes white teeth so special? And is it really the secret to a more attractive appearance? We sat down with Dr. van Vurren at IGDP in London to talk all about our obsession with a whiter smile, how it can make you more attractive, and how we can achieve the white shade we’re all longing for.
Why are white teeth so desirable?
There are many reasons why westernised culture is obsessed with white teeth. One of the biggest factors is the increasing influx in celebrity culture within our society. Many of us now aim to achieve a similar level of attractiveness to that of our favourite celebrities, and part of this is to gain bright, white and healthy looking teeth like them. There has been a huge increase in the number of patients undergoing cosmetic dentistry in order to achieve the perfect A-List smile in the past decade. One of the most requested treatments in cosmetic dentistry has become teeth whitening as a result of this. Whiter teeth also are strongly associated with health and prosperity, with numerous research studies finding that many of us link a whiter smile with a higher wage bracket, a healthy lifestyle and even being more employable – and attractive!
Do white teeth make you more attractive?
“The short answer is yes. Human instinct means we look for signs of health within our partners and prospect mates. It echoes back many, many years to a time when humans would choose their partners based on the healthy and strong genes they could provide to their offspring. White teeth are now considered as a sign of good health in modern society, and therefore are considered as an attractive feature,” says Dr. Stephan van Vuuren.
In more recent times white teeth have also been connected with a more youthful appearance too, which is a feature many of strive for. So much so that a study carried out by Dr Uchenna Okoye, (Oral-B Smile Director) found that whiter teeth can make you look up to 5 years younger. And looking younger has LONG been associated with looking attractive. This is backed up by research that has shown whiter teeth can make you look 20% more attractive. Many patients also feel much more confident in their appearance when they have whiter teeth; so much so that a bright smile has secured them a top job – or even a date.
What can we do to achieve pearly white teeth?
“There are many things that you can do in order to achieve a healthy, white smile. Obviously, the best cause of action is to pay close attention to your oral hygiene,” explains Dr. van Vuuren. “Reducing the consumption of foods and beverages with staining qualities (such as tea, coffee, fizzy soft drinks and curries) can also make a huge difference to the colour of your teeth every day.”
“Alternatively you can opt for a teeth whitening treatment at IGDP. Although there are over-the-counter remedies on the market, I would always suggest seeking professional advice, as these at-home treatments can vary in their quality and can (in some cases) actually cause further damage to the teeth. When considering a smile whitening treatment, it’s a good idea to sit a consultation with a cosmetic dental professional to gain a greater understanding of what can be done to improve the brightness of your smile,” he concludes.
There are a wide range of cosmetic dentistry services to improve the look of your smile, from teeth whitening to space closure, and veneers. Pick a well-respected cosmetic dentist and hygienist that provide the highest level of results possible for their patients, is Dr. van Vurren’s advice. “Booking a consultation will give you the opportunity to discuss further your areas of concern and learn more about what the professionals at the practice can offer you,” he says.