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Does Teeth Whitening Improve Self-Esteem?

May 29, 2017

When we think of teeth whitening, we think of how it simply affects our appearance. Obviously, it makes our teeth whiter, and that’s that. Right? Wrong. There’s much more to it. Psychologist Ann Demarais, Ph.D, states, “When your teeth look white and sparkly, you can relax, be in the moment and laugh. You are more confident and radiant.” When our teeth are white, we are no longer as self-conscious of our smile. Before, we may have been ashamed of any yellow discoloration. We may have even been reluctant to smile in the first place. With whiter teeth, we become much more confident.

In fact, one study found that teeth whitening significantly impacts one’s self-esteem. In this study, researchers had participants answer a questionnaire in which they had to judge their own smile attractiveness. In the results, it was found that the color of teeth was a critical factor in satisfaction with smile appearance. When we are satisfied with our smile, we are more satisfied with our physical appearance, which clearly boosts our self-esteem and how we feel about ourselves.

There was one interesting study that studied the impact of dentistry treatment on children with enamel defects. They received minimally invasive treatment with the approval of their guardians, and were questioned both before and after treatment. Before treatment, the children reported being worried, embarrassed, bullied at school, and with a strong belief that their teeth looked yellow. After treatment, common responses were that they felt that their teeth looked better, and that they felt happier and more confident.

We are not claiming that children should start whitening their teeth, but rather stating that enamel defects they have should possibly be addressed, such as the need for braces. It is common knowledge that children are more fragile in regard to social perceptions and opinions from their peers. This is more apparent during the adolescent years. According to one article, “self-perceived physical appearance plays a key role among most adolescents’ lives because it has been found to be a more predictive domain of global self-worth or overall sense of self-worth” (Almenara). Teenagers care about what their peers think more than anyone, as they are in the process of not only finding self-worth, but also self-identification.

Dentistry treatment has a positive effect on self-esteem and confidence for all age groups. While it benefits children, it is also beneficial and more practical for adolescents. Perhaps adolescents can reap the benefits of whitening their teeth from time to time… if they want their smile to look extra bright for prom or graduation. Adults can benefit from teeth whitening as well. Teeth stains picked up from all those years of drinking coffee and wine can easily be fixed, and give a boost of confidence that we can all use. Teeth whitening does not only whiten teeth. Beyond the surface, it does much more.

Further reading

Almenara, Carlos. “The Source and Impact of Appearance Teasing: An Examination by Sex and Weight Status among Early Adolescents from the Czech Republic.” The Source and Impact of Appearance Teasing: An Examination by Sex and Weight Status among Early Adolescents from the Czech Republic. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.

Bernie, Kristy Menage, RDH, BS, RYT. “Professional Whitening.” Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine (2011). Web.

Rodd, H.d., A. Abdul-Karim, G. Yesudian, J. O’Mahony, and Z. Marshman. “Seeking Children’s Perspectives in the Management of Visible Enamel Defects.” International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry 21.2 (2011): 89-95. Web.

Pieter Van der Geld, Paul Oosterveld, Guus Van Heck, and Anne Marie Kuijpers-Jagtman (2007) Smile Attractiveness. The Angle Orthodontist: September 2007, Vol. 77, No. 5, pp. 759-765.

87 Wolfs Lane, Pelham, NY 10803 USA (646) 233-0277
Dr. Alexander Vaiman Dentist in Pelham, NY (914) 738-3606 (914) 738-3633 pfdentalarts@gmail.com