A recent feature in The Guardian says that at last, Brits have â€˜something to smile about.â€™ The article argues that this new awareness is linked to increased availability of cosmetic treatment. As a hygienist who works largely with adults, I see daily evidence of the growing number of people who are looking for ways to improve their looks and teeth, even if they donâ€™t work in front of a camera or on a stage.
Living life in the public eye
Our lives are increasingly broadcast on social media and even Wiki-how has published a guide to posing for the perfect photo. Photo sharing is a standard part of social media with social occasions and personal photos destined to be uploaded and shared very quickly. At the clinic we have our own Instagram account. For the orthodontic world, the drive to look your best is good for business but I do also worry about the growing pressure on young people to appear perfect and â€˜camera ready.â€™
So then my thoughts turn to the teeth of the generation between young children and adults. What of teenagers and young adults making their way in a world of celebrity and cosmetic appeal? Will the emphasis on aesthetics and cosmetic appeal in the UK help us look after our teeth a bit better?
Alarming studies into high rates of tooth decay in adults and children and the effects of sugar have been in the news frequently this year and with good reason. I am in full support of initiatives which deliver heightened awareness of the preventive benefits of a good dental health routine and healthy diet.
Improving teeth leads to improving dental health
I often come across individuals whose teeth arenâ€™t just crooked but are in a very bad way. Itâ€™s wonderful to see their dental health change for the better as they progress with their orthodontic treatment. A heightened awareness of their teeth during treatment combined with me drumming dental health advice into them, seems to crank up a persons drive to want to keep their teeth clean.
There may be ambivalence around cosmetic treatments in some quarters (after all we are still British!) but if it leads to people caring for their teeth and becoming healthier as a result we are on to a good thing.