It’s a longstanding joke in America that us Brits have terrible teeth. But despite our stereotypical reputation for not being blessed with naturally perfect pearly whites, the good news is that there are things we can do to enhance our smiles.
Whether you aspire to achieve that dazzling Hollywood smile of beautifully aligned bright white teeth and full lips, or you simply want healthier teeth and gums, read on to find out how your smile is affected by your age, and what you can do to keep it sparkling for years to come.
A winning smile
When we talk about the perfect smile, most people would say this means white, straight, symmetrical teeth with full lips. I often meet patients who are looking for completely white teeth that are similar in shape and size (I call this the ‘piano keys’ look!) However, teeth are naturally all different shapes and sizes, and are usually slightly darker at the gum line, so it is important to keep this in mind if you prefer a more natural look.
Long in the tooth
As you age, your teeth have a tendency to become more yellow in colour. This is due to the enamel wearing away over time, revealing the darker dentine underneath. This also accounts for an increase in sensitivity as we age.
Receding gums is another common issue, often resulting from gum disease or vigorous tooth brushing. And tooth loss can also be associated with the ageing process. In extreme cases, this can result not just in aesthetic issues, but can also impact the individual’s ability to eat and talk normally. In extreme cases, tooth loss can result in bone resorption and loss of lower face height which also causes the extra-oral (outside the mouth) soft tissues to fold.
Put that smile back on your face
How your mouth looks can have a huge effect on your confidence. Feeling self-conscious about your teeth, gums or lips can have an impact on how you present yourself to the world, and how you believe the world perceives you. And there is nothing sadder than the thought of someone who doesn’t feel comfortable to smile or laugh freely for fear of drawing attention to something they feel self-conscious about.
So, start by ensuring your oral health is the best it can be. Brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. Afterwards, spit and don't rinse, and floss daily after brushing. If using mouthwash, use at a different time from brushing.
Finally, follow a healthy diet and limit sugar to four times a day. It is best to stick to water or milk. Although tea and coffee don’t damage teeth if no sugar is added, it can stain them.
Add a little extra sparkle
Tooth whitening is a great way to brighten your smile and it is a safe option if undertaken by a dental professional.
Home whitening kits are available, however the British Dental Bleaching Society warns these are “Not always assessed for safety, increasing the risk of damage to the gums and teeth. The acidic nature of these gels can also be harmful” (Ref 1). In fact, the British Dental Industry Association strongly advises that “Tooth whitening is the practice of dentistry and should only be done by regulated dental professionals” (Ref 2).
The key to getting the best results is to have customised trays specially created to fit the exact size and shape of your teeth to ensure every tooth gets sufficient contact with the tooth whitening gel. These can be created safely right here at DRVICTORIA™ Clinic and can be used and reused at home.
After any tooth whitening treatment, avoid for a few hours food and drink that stain, for example tea, coffee, red wine, and curries. And remember, teeth can become sensitive during treatment, however this is usually only temporary.
To go with our customised trays we offer professional POLAR advance tooth whitening gels in 6% Hydrogen Peroxide, for rapid teeth whitening during the day, and 16% Carbamide Peroxide to gently whiten teeth at night.
Read my lips
The best way to frame beautifully whitened teeth is with gorgeous lips. To keep them soft and supple, gently exfoliate with a toothbrush a few times a week. Keep lips hydrated with a lip balm or hydrating lipstick. And don’t forget, lips can get sunburned so choose a lip balm or lipstick that contains SPF.
For a little extra boost, opt for lip fillers which can be used to add volume to your lips or definition to your cupid’s bow or vermilion lip line or all three.
Your natural vermilion lip line begins to soften and fade in your 30s, which noticeably ages your appearance. I see a lot of middle aged women seeking to redefine their lip line and restore their natural more youthful look. Whilst many of my younger patients are seeking to enhance their cupid's bow for a more defined look. Remember lip fillers do not have to mean bigger lips! We always advise that symmetric, natural looking lips that form a beautiful smile look best - and its' what we specialise in.
Don’t stifle your smile
The worst thing you can do to ruin your smile? Smoking! Not only does it stain teeth, it also ages the lips and perioral (skin around the lips) tissues. But more than that – it is the number one cause of oral cancer (Ref 3).
We’ll make sure you have something to smile about
To find out more about the range of smile makeover treatments available at DRVICTORIA™ Clinic visit the smile makeover page, where you’ll find before-and-after photos plus video testimonials from patients who really do have something to smile about.
As a Dental Surgeon and Facial Aesthetics expert Dr Asel Nawroz specialises in smile rejuvenation with teeth whitening and lip filler treatments. She is a member of the Faculty for Dental for The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and has helped countless patients find their smile.
- Ref 1: British Dental Bleaching Society, Patient Information
- Ref 2: The British Dental Industry Association, Dental Insider
- Ref 3: NHS, Oral Cancer: Causes