The Psychology Behind Teeth Whitening

The Psychology Behind Teeth Whitening

3 minute read

A brighter whiter smile is something that we’ve all strived for. But what brought us to want to whiten our teeth? The Novashine Smile Team compiled the psychology behind wanting white teeth and teeth whitening products! 

The Psychology Behind Teeth Whitening

People subconsciously judge discolored teeth.

A study in the British Dental Journal showed that the color of your teeth impacts others' perception of your habits and personality traits. Participants in the study were shown photos from which they judged a person based on dental appearance (ex: bright white teeth vs. yellow teeth). Yellow teeth were involuntarily associated with poor hygiene habits, while straight white teeth were associated with health. Gender, age, and demographics did not matter: yellow teeth elicited negative reactions regardless of other traits. When asked to rank each person on four characteristics, those with white smiles were rated higher for social competence, intellectual ability, psychological adjustment and relationship satisfaction.


 Source: Pixabay

While there’s no legitimate basis for judging someone off a smile, the white smiles stood at the top of the ratings every time. 

White teeth impact your self-confidence.

Many people try out whitening products simply because they’re dissatisfied with the color of their teeth. Civic Science reported that whitening your teeth has actually been shown to improve self-confidence. Those who whiten their teeth have been found to see themselves in a positive light: they overestimate their self-attractiveness! This means the white teeth may cause you to see yourself as better than you were once before! 

Teeth whitening use is correlated with high self-esteem

Straight white teeth have become an American beauty ideal.

While this ideal has spread psychologically throughout the world, the ideal of straight white teeth emerged with the rise of orthodontists in the United States. Other countries have historically had other beauty standards with teeth. The British have reportedly found American smiles “unnatural” in the past, preferring their natural smiles. Meanwhile, studies have found that  Japanese men consider Yaeba, aka what some call “snaggletooth” in North America, endearing and youthful in women. 

                       Source: Pixabay

Our perception of teeth is largely due to societal influence growing up! For example, a lot of the celebrities we grew up with have bright white smiles (see our blog: “How Do I Get a Celebrity Smile?”), making a lot of us want to look like these singers and actors. 

How can I get the perks that come with a whiter smile? 

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