The Psychology of a Whiter Smile: Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem

There are all sorts of reasons why it’s important to practise good dental hygiene. Not only does regular brushing and oral hygiene maintenance keep your breath fresh for those around you, but it minimises the chance of plaque and bacteria build-up, meaning that it is good for your overall health and wellbeing as well.

But, of course, for many of our clients, all the underlying benefits are superseded by the aesthetics of a good dental routine – namely their search for a whiter smile.

The fact is that, when our teeth are whiter, we smile more; we feel more confident, and our self-esteem lifts. Which is why taking steps to boost our dental routine and research both natural and artificial teeth whitening solutions is such a hot topic of conversation.

But, before we share some advice on how to help your teeth benefit from a gleaming white sheen, let’s look a little closer at the psychology of a whiter smile and how it helps us to feel more confident. 

Why does having a whiter smile make us feel more confident?

Colgate, one of the leading dental brands in the world, talks about how smiles are affected by psychology – so much so that we generally have three different types of smiles. The first is a spontaneous smile, when something makes us happy; the second is a social smile that we put on for those around us; and the third is an emotional smile, which shows those around us what we are really thinking or feeling.

Crucially, the intensity of these smiles and the regularity with which we show them varies based on our confidence. That’s why those who do not boast the same levels of self-esteem will typically exude a closed-mouth smile, or one which is not as bright. 

Of course, it’s not all to do with the colour and shine of our teeth. Many of us simply don’t express joy in the same way, or feel conscious of other things beyond the colour of our teeth. That’s why, while this blog is about the psychology of a white smile and how to boost the shine of your own teeth, it’s just as important to spend time smiling and boosting your own confidence. After all, they say that simply making the choice to smile, even when you don’t feel like it, can instantly make you feel a little more positive. 

How to get a whiter smile naturally

There are a few different ways of achieving whiter teeth. The first that we are going to consider is the natural remedies, from the impact of good dental hygiene to the value of foods that are said to help contribute towards a brighter smile. 

The impact of a good dental hygiene routine

Cleaning your teeth twice a day, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly are all crucial in sustaining good oral hygiene – which is not just good for the aesthetics of your teeth but also for your overall health and wellbeing. 

When you brush your teeth regularly and floss properly between your teeth, you remove any build-up of food and plaque that creates unsightly discolouration around the base of and in between the teeth. Good oral hygiene is also necessary for minimising the need for dental work, including fillings, and can help to lessen the chance of tooth decay. 

Foods which promote whiter teeth

Food and drink are a double-edged sword when it comes to whiter teeth and a healthier smile, not least because eating the wrong things – and too much of them – can exacerbate underlying issues and cause the enamel of the teeth to become stained or damaged. 

For the most part, it’s advised to avoid too much sugar – with other things to avoid including coffee, red wine, and some berries, which can cause lasting stains on the surface of the teeth if consumed to excess. 

In terms of promoting a whiter smile, some of the recommended foods include the following:

  • Naturally crunchy foods. Not only are some crunchy vegetables, like cucumber and celery, packed full of water, but they help to dislodge other food that may be sitting between the teeth, and they act as a natural toothbrush between other courses. 
  • Dairy products. Did you know that increasing your dairy intake can help to keep your teeth shiny and white? This is because the lactic acid helps to protect the enamel on your teeth from decaying, thus acting as another layer of protection for the dentin beneath, which affects the colour of your teeth. 
  • Acidic foods – but in moderation. Acidic foods may be known for weakening the enamel on the teeth (which is of course not good), but in moderation they can actually increase the saliva production in the mouth, which helps to wash away the remnants of food and leave you with a gleaming smile. 
  • Water. Need we say more? Drinking more water is good for every part of your body, from your teeth to your heart and beyond. 

With that in mind, how does professional teeth whitening compare with the more natural solutions?

The benefits of professional teeth whitening

If it’s efficient teeth whitening that you want, then a professional service is of course the best and most effective method. Combining industry-leading laser technology with a whitening paste that is applied to the teeth and then held under the laser to create the reaction which whitens the teeth, professional services are not necessarily cheap, but they do work. 

And, if the cost is something that you are considering, then look at professional teeth whitening as an investment – into both your self-confidence and your personal and professional image. Those who smile more are seen as having a higher self-esteem, which can bring with it workplace benefits as well as personal ones. 

For more information on teeth whitening, to find out if professional services are right for you, or for tailored advice on your own dental hygiene routine, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local dentist.