Dental Apartheid: Are White Teeth a Form of Racism?

Dental Apartheid: Are White Teeth a Form of Racism?

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of people paying to have their teeth professionally whitened. This is especially true when people globally are hooked up on the trend and go for teeth whitening in far-off locations like Chermside. And they spend a lot on over-the-counter and professional teeth whitening products each year. While some may see this as nothing more than a harmless beauty trend, others have raised the alarm about the potential for teeth whitening to become a form of racism.

There is no denying that white teeth are more attractive than yellow or brown teeth. A study done in 2012 found that participants were more likely to find people with whiter teeth to be more intelligent, successful, and trustworthy. This preference for white teeth is not just limited to the United States; it is a global phenomenon. A study in Hong Kong found that people rated those with whiter teeth as more attractive, and another study found that people in India were more likely to marry someone with whiter teeth.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to have white teeth, the problem arises when people start to believe that white teeth are necessary to be considered attractive. Additionally, others believe in Instagram influencers promoting dangerous DIY methods which can cause irreversible damage to teeth. This belief exacerbates the problem when people of color are disproportionately affected. 

The teeth whitening belief can discriminate against those with yellow or brown teeth. In one extreme case, a job applicant in the United Kingdom was told by a potential employer that she would need to get her teeth whitened if she wanted to be considered for the job. 

Apart from the wrong reasons and beliefs, there are genuine reasons to have the procedure, including;

  • Tooth discoloration from drinking coffee, tea, or wine

Did you know that coffee, tea, and wine can all lead to tooth discoloration? If you’re a fan of these beverages, you may want to consider getting your teeth professionally whitened. The procedure can help to remove the stains that have built up over time.

  • Tooth discoloration from smoking

Smoking is another major cause of tooth discoloration. The tar and nicotine in cigarettes can lead to yellowing or browning teeth. You may want to consider getting your teeth professionally whitened if you’re a smoker.

  • Tooth discoloration due to aging

As we age, our teeth can become discolored. This is due to some factors, including the wearing down of the enamel and the staining of the dentin. If you’re concerned about the color of your teeth, you may want to consider getting your teeth professionally whitened.

  • Tooth discoloration from certain medications

Certain medications can lead to tooth discoloration. This includes tetracycline antibiotics, which can cause yellowing of the teeth. If you’re taking medication that you think may be causing tooth discoloration, you should talk to your dentist. They may recommend that you get your teeth professionally whitened.

Wrapping Up

When considering teeth whitening, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and side effects. Additionally, it would help if you remembered that white teeth are not necessary to be considered attractive. If you’re considering getting your teeth professionally whitened, do your research and talk to your dentist beforehand.

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