Can Better Teeth Lead To A Better Love Life?

Woman with white teeth smiling

Ten things you didn't know about teeth whitening—including how it can help your love life.

Sponsored by TopDentists.com.

We can't say for sure that better teeth will lead to a better love life, but a great smile definitely can make you more confident, which is pretty much the key to scoring any major love win (you know, the first date, the next date, the wedding proposal, etc.). In fact, research has proven just how important those pearly whites are: a national survey from the American Dental Association found that people rank a smile as the most attractive physical feature, above eyes, body and hair. A smile also makes people want to help you. A few years ago, French researchers observed one group of people who dropped their belongings and smiled at passersby, and another group who dropped their belongings and didn't smile. Thirty percent of the passersby stopped to help the smilers, compared to only 20% of the non-smilers. And finally, numerous studies have shown that by smiling you can actually signal happiness and joy in the brain by activating the zygotic muscle—that's right, smiling can actually make you happy

Sadly, though, insecurity about your teeth can inhibit you from smiling, meaning you may not receive the fabulous effects of a brilliant grin. One of the easiest and most common ways to improve your smile is through teeth whitening. With that in mind, our partners TopDentists.com bring you 10 things you didn't know about professional teeth whitening:

1. Both sexes benefit. Women are more likely to have a teeth whitening procedure, but men are interested, too. In fact, up to 1/3 of teeth whitening patients are men, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

2. It's a time saver. Come on, who really has the time to sit around, fussing with whitening kits, especially when your big date could be at the door any minute? In-office teeth whitening procedures—and even customized at-home teeth whitening procedures—deliver faster results compared to the cumulative, turtle-slow effect of an over-the-counter kit.

3. It's personalized. You take your sexy skinny jeans to get tailored by Fred on Mott Street, and you consult Jenny in the high-end department store downtown about the perfect foundation shade. So why wouldn't you want to take care of your teeth in the same individualized way? Dentists use a Vita shade guide to determine the specific degree of discoloration and staining of your teeth. Then depending on how far gone you are, you and your dentist decide together just how white 'n' bright you want to go. 

4. Just like men, you get lots of choices, each with their own pros and cons. Which suits your fancy: chemical whitening, mild acid whitening, abrasive teeth brightening or laser teeth whitening? During your consultation, your dentist helps you figure out which one is right for you. Beats PlentyofFish.com. 

5. You get pleasure without pain. The laser teeth whitening process is normally painless. Some people experience a bit of sensitivity because the bleach dehydrates the teeth, but usually, you'll just have to tell your guy to hold off on bringing you that pint of mint-chocolate chip or extra hot gingerbread latte for the first 24 hours. 

6. Did someone say "instant gratification?" Getting your teeth whitened by a dentist delivers results that are apparent immediately. After a single 1.5 hour treatment, you can walk out of the dentist's office and flash your honey a smile that would put Kanye West's diamond-encrusted smirk to shame.

7. Effects that last longer than a celebrity marriage. Generally, teeth remain in tip-top white shape for about two years, assuming good hygiene and reasonable exposure to staining foods and beverages. However, results can vary depending on your personal habits (such as bi-hourly Americanos or sugary soda). 

8. Bonus for cougars and panthers. Who needs Botox when a brighter smile tends to minimize the appearance of facial wrinkles? 

9. Unlike that guy at the bar last night, taking it home will make you feel good. An alternative to an in-office procedure is the Custom Fit Tray Bleaching procedure. Your dentist takes an impression (mold) of your mouth, so that he or she can make a custom fitted plastic tray that you take home with you. A small amount of bleaching gel is placed in the custom-fit tray, and then worn over your teeth for one to two hours a day. One benefit of this route: Your loved ones and co-workers will be "eased in" to your shiny, new teeth.

10. It's popular. The demand for teeth whitening products has increased by more than 300% in the past five years. It's the most popular cosmetic dental procedure among patients between the ages of 20-50. Why? Because everyone benefits from a friendly, sparkling smile. 

Sponsored by TopDentists.com.