It’s easy to understand why Cheshire cats are so confident about their smiles: Their teeth are perfectly straight, symmetrical, and white—things that people generally consider attractive in a smile.
And while all smiles are beautiful in what they represent—they show our humanity and help us bond with others—attaining a more attractive smile can boost our confidence and help us look our best. So, what’s the secret? What makes a smile attractive?
6 Key Ingredients for an Attractive Smile
A smile might seem like something that’s subjective, but there’s a science to achieving a beautiful smile. The good news is that anyone can take these steps to make their own smile more dazzling.
1. Symmetry Is Beauty
All of nature is beautiful in its symmetry. Unfortunately, this is exactly what many people’s teeth lack. Whether an asymmetrical smile is due to misaligned, lost, damaged, or mistreated teeth, there are cosmetic dentistry treatments—including dental implants and crowns—that can resolve any dental problems that throw your smile off-center.
Choosing the right procedure to fix symmetry issues comes down to many factors, including your budget and the urgency of the problem. If your visible front teeth are different lengths, veneers or crowns can even out their appearance. There are also several dentistry procedures that can help to fix canted teeth, improving the symmetry of your smile.
2. Tooth Color
Pearly white smiles are the most attractive because they look clean and well taken care of. Though some discoloration is natural over time, certain lifestyle factors can accelerate the darkening process and cause staining.
The Effect of Diet on Tooth Color
Consumption of drinks such as tea, coffee, and red wine as well as heavily pigmented fruits and vegetables can lead to a darkening of the tooth’s natural whiteness.
Smoking and Medications also Affect Tooth Color
Tobacco use as well as some medications can also lead to discoloration. Medications that are known to stain or darken teeth include tetracycline, doxycycline, antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs, antihypertensive medications, and mouth rinses containing chlorhexidine or cetylpyridinium.
Good Oral Hygiene, Professional Dental Care, and Whitening Procedures Can Help to Keep Teeth White
Diligent oral care and regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining a winning smile. However, they don’t totally prevent discoloration over time. Some yellowing is unavoidable as the tooth enamel wears, exposing more of the yellow dentin underneath.
If you’d like to lighten your tooth color, there are a few things you can do to get the whitest teeth using at-home whitening treatments. Ultimately, professional laser teeth whitening is the most effective way to brighten your smile. Most people come away with beautifully white teeth in as little as one or two sessions.
3. Tooth Spacing
Attractive teeth sit comfortably side-by-side. However, all too often, this isn’t the case. Gaps between teeth, overcrowding, and missing teeth are problems that, apart from affecting the overall look of your smile, can also lead to oral hygiene problems. It’s a lot more difficult to brush uneven teeth than it is to brush straight teeth.
Though many people fix these problems as teens, there are solutions for adults too, not all of which involve traditional metal braces. Invisalign provides a discrete and affordable path toward a more symmetrical smile. Others opt for treatments like porcelain veneers or dental bonding to cover gaps and hide slightly uneven teeth.
4. Gum Health
Be honest: Do you floss every day like your dentist tells you to? Healthy gums are essential for an attractive smile. Better still, keeping your gums healthy can help you prevent unpleasant side-effects of poor oral health and gum disease like bad breath. Even with the most perfect teeth, bleeding gums and bad breath are anything but attractive.
Paying attention to the importance of flossing for gum health can help you maintain a beautiful smile and avoid costly periodontal procedures in the long term. Brushing your teeth correctly and using mouthwash to kill bacteria can also help to keep your gums beautiful and pink.
5. Gum Display
A common smile complaint is the amount of gum shown when one smiles. For some, excessive gum display, or a “gummy smile,” is something that causes discontentment and self-consciousness. Gummy smiles result in the teeth looking significantly smaller and also make teeth-brushing more complicated. For others, too little gum display is also a problem.
Ultimately, our gum display comes down to genetics, so it’s often out of our control. However, there are cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help, including periodontal treatments like laser gum contouring and gum grafts. These procedures are often used as part of a complete Smile Makeover which, when performed by a trusted cosmetic dentist, offers a totally transformed smile.
6. Bite Alignment
A perfectly straight bite is something that eludes many of us. The perfect smile is one in which the top and bottom set of teeth meet seamlessly in the middle. However, many smiles have an overbite or underbite which, apart from affecting self-confidence, can also contribute to harmful teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
Solutions for a misaligned bite can include orthodontic treatments like Invisalign and TMJ botox injections—a procedure that’s popular in Beverly Hills—to relax a tightly clenched jaw. Your dentist will be able to provide you with more personalized advice based on dental X-rays and an in-person evaluation.
When It Comes to Smile Aesthetics, Dental Procedures Go Hand in Hand with Everyday Home Care
There is much we can do every day to maintain our oral health and beauty. Picking up and maintaining a daily oral health routine is the first step to achieving the best possible smile. By simply brushing and flossing correctly, your gums will be pinker and you’ll lower your risk of cavities and tooth loss.
Then, if there’s a problem that needs correcting, surgical and non-surgical procedures can go a long way to improving not only your overall look but also your confidence and self-esteem. Soon, you’ll be not only willing but eager to flash that great smile.