14 June 2020

A straight and white smile is becoming more sought after then ever before.  This mindset began with the ‘Hollywood smile’, when we first started to develop an interest in mimicking the results of celebrity cosmetics.  For many at the time, the riches of these stars along with the price of cosmetic dentistry, put such procedures out of reach.  But much has changed.

Today, the price of cosmetic dentistry, like tooth whitening and adult orthodontics have become far more affordable and accessible.  It means today’s Hollywood smile is now the ‘Love Island smile’.  As a reality show, this creates an image that cosmetic dentistry is obtainable and as ‘normal’ as visiting the hairdresser or barber. 

More of us are taking an interest in our own smile and searching for ways to improve it.  This is an extremely positive attitude.  However, while changing the appearance of our teeth sits high on many people’s wish list, it is important to remember the most important thing – the health of our smile.

New research

To get a better understanding of how we view our smiles, we teamed up with Philips Sonicare to commission a brand new piece of research.  And the results of the investigation are eye-opening. 

One-in-five (20%) British adults have had cosmetic dentistry – and nearly one-in-ten (9%) have had it in the last year alone.  What’s more, another 19% of the population say they are looking into cosmetic dental work with the intention of having it one day soon.

Unsurprisingly, tooth whitening came top of the dental makeover shopping list.  Nearly one-in-three (32%) Brits want whiter teeth while two-in-three (66%) have actively considered it.

One of the main concerns from our investigation is that whiter teeth is considered more than twice as desirable as having healthy gums.  This is a problem. 

A white smile can also be a healthy one

There is a need for us to readdress our perceptions of what a healthy smile.  It’s important to remember that with the introduction of cosmetic dentistry, all may not be what it seems, and a white smile is not necessarily a healthy one.

White teeth as a result of tooth whitening are still susceptible to tooth decay, and the gums are still prone to disease.

Just as white teeth can improve our self-esteem, suffering from tooth loss can have the opposite effect.  Strong evidence is also pointing to gum disease linking to wider conditions such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes and dementia.  The health of our mouth isn’t only important for the state of our smile, it is also incredible influential for our quality of life.

It all means we need to strike a better balance.  Of course, we can still have our teeth whitened, but we need to realise that the health of our teeth is far more important than the colour.

How to keep a healthy mouth

So how do we achieve a healthy smile?  The good news is that the answer is pretty simple. Healthy teeth and gums can be achieved by a good oral health routine at home and regularly visiting our dentist.

A good oral health routine only involves a few easy steps:

  • Brushing our teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes. This is best done last thing at night and one other time during the day.

  • Cleaning in between our teeth daily with interdental brushes or floss.

  • Using mouthwash daily.

  • Chewing sugar free gum in between meals.

  • Cutting down how much sugar we have, and how often we have it – and keeping sugar consumption to mealtimes.

  • Visiting our dentist as often as they recommend.

So there we have it.

By sticking to this basic routine, we can achieve that healthy mouth.  The next time we show off the results of our latest tooth whitening treatment, we can also be confident that our teeth and gums are in tip-top condition too.

For more information on how to maintain good oral health check out our A-Z of oral health information.