It might be hard to believe, but there once was a time when a less than blinding smile was perfectly acceptable. Then came the movies, where early black and white tended to make teeth look dully gray.
To correct this, actors were often required by their studio contracts to have full sets of gleaming new dentures made for them. Perhaps only Bugs Bunny had naturally perfect white incisors. The artificial smile had its birth along with the artificial means of realizing it.
And here we are today, where gleaming teeth are the perceived ideal – at least here in the US. So we’re sold toothpastes and mouthwashes to whiten our smiles. We’re sold whitening strips and home bleaching kits. When all else fails, dentists can provide professional brightening and other purely cosmetic procedures.
Of course, most everyone’s teeth darken with age. If stains are the issue, unless you change the habits that cause them, maintaining the artificial smile means repeated bleachings.
Captain Obvious steps forth, clutching a study from the Acta Odontologica Scandinavica. “This’ll put the ‘ill’ into ‘thrilling conclusion,'” he says.
What might that be?
- While teeth are being whitened, teeth resist staining.
- After teeth have been whitened, coffee and red wine stain them both.
“Yes,” sobs Captain Obvious. “Yes.”
Image by Chris Pirillo, via Flickr