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Why Do People Whiten Their Teeth?

Ever see someone smile and find yourself wondering how they manage to keep their teeth looking so white and healthy? Is it simply that they brush, floss and rinse at least twice daily? Or do they not partake in any dark-colored libations such as coffee, tea, red wine or cola? Maybe they've never used tobacco products, which helps keep one's teeth looking clean and healthy.

Or maybe - and more likely - they've had their teeth whitened.

Tooth whitening is the process by which bleach, or another chemical agent, is applied to a person's teeth in order to help remove stains and discoloration, making them appear brighter. This is a procedure which can be done in a dentist's office, or at home using special at-home kits.

So why do people whiten their teeth? There are a number of reasons why people choose to lighten the shade of their teeth.

The number one reason people give for whitening their teeth is to improve their appearance. There is nothing worse than meeting someone for the first time, and being embarrassed to return a smile because your teeth are discolored. Just as most people expect another person to make eye contact as a sign of respect, they also expect to have a smile returned as a gesture of friendliness. Failure to return a smile to someone could be misinterpreted as being unhappy or worse yet, unapproachable.

Whitening one's teeth also can help to improve self confidence. A person with confidence feels ready to tackle any problem and perform any task. Because most people associate confidence with their outer appearance, something as simple as whitening their teeth can go a long way in upping their confidence levels.

Another reason people choose to whiten their teeth is for their profession. Celebrities and those working in the modeling industry make their money off of their good looks. Part of looking good is having an award-winning smile. Business professionals also have motivation to keep their teeth looking healthy, which includes regularly cleaning and whitening. Just as making eye contact is seen as a sign of trust and respect, so is smiling at a potential client or business associate.

Singles on the dating scene can attest to the importance of a genuine smile in knowing when someone is interested in making a connection. According to body language professionals, a genuine smile helps to convey that a person is friendly, interested and willing to communicate. It also helps to make a person seem less threatening when they exhibit an authentic smile in your direction.

If you've decided to give tooth-whitening a try, there are many options available.

If money is not an obstacle in your quest for a brighter smile, receiving professional whitening from a dentist is your best bet. At an average cost of $650 for one application, it uses a heavily-concentrated mixture of hydrogen peroxide to help strip teeth of discoloration. Those who have received this kind of procedure report their teeth are four to six times brighter afterward.

A less-expensive option is one of the many over-the-counter tooth-whitening products available on the market today. At-home products contain a peroxide solution, but in lesser concentrations than what is found in a dental professional's office. The same results which can be achieved in a dentist's office after just one application can take much longer using at-home products. However, at a cost of $10 to $35, at-home options are most affordable for everyone.

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