Teeth whitening is a procedure that’s acquiring increasing popularity in the United Kingdom. While you might assume that this trend is being driven by older people whose teeth have more mileage on the clock, the reverse is actually true: the data shows that 40% of 18-24 year olds probably would get their teeth whitened, while 40% of those older than 65 definitely would not. Once you factor in the uncertain ‘don’t know or care’ respondents, this amounts to a sizeable swing toward whitening from the younger generation.
So, what’s driving this swing? It’s not difficult to jab a finger at a few of the usual culprits.
Reality TV has come a long way since the first season of Big Brother hit British TV screens back when Tony Blair was Prime Minister. Now, the label has become bitterly ironic, as ‘reality’ tv is about the most confected thing on broadcast television.
Reality stars are consistently attractive, and the successful ones manage their appearance and their endorsements in the most exacting manner possible. Of course, much of this process is hidden from the view of impressionable young people, who come away with the impression that everyone should look and behave like a reality star, and that any sense that their life doesn’t meet the standards set by these people should be corrected by a visit to a cosmetic dentist.
Over the last few years, social media has begun to exert an enormous influence over the way we spend our money, and on the way in which we perceive ourselves and others. A recent trend on TikTok which encouraged teenagers to rub bleach onto their teeth provides an alarming illustration of the lengths to which many young girls will go in pursuit of that winning smile. Undeterred by the prospect of tooth sensitivity, burned gums, lost teeth or even death, girls are gleefully rubbing hydrogen peroxide into their own teeth and posting the video for the world to marvel at.
Of course, it’s easy to be exasperated by the most egregious excesses of social media. But the underlying assumption – that we’re all flawed beings who should conform to societal norms surrounding beauty, and pay handsomely in the process – is more insidious.
Why do you need to do your Research?
Before concluding that your dental woes can be cured by a bout of teeth whitening, it’s worth first asking yourself what you’re really trying to achieve. Are you seeking the intervention to satisfy yourself, or to please someone else? Is teeth whitening actually a solution to the deeper problem?
If you determine that the answer is yes, then you’ll need to be sure that you identify a reputable practitioner – one that’s approved by the General Dental Council. Cutting corners here risks serious damage to your health, and you might have to live with the pain for a long time thereafter. Dental negligence claims have the power to compensate you, but they cannot restore teeth which have been irreparably damaged.
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