Embracing Your Natural Smile

Embracing Your Natural Smile

Step away ‘couture design smile’: it is now about perfect imperfections. Holly Louise Eells finds more out about this growing ‘natural’ trend

What makes a perfect smile? For years, the ‘Hollywood Smile’ was the look many wanted, and the straighter and whiter the better. But it seems that perfection just got too perfect and we’re now celebrating our differences.

From a penny-sized gap to wonky edge, our teeth’s idiosyncrasies have long been something we’ve felt obliged to fix. However, it seems this has all changed for the new decade, and 2020 is all about embracing the ‘au natural’ way or ‘improved smile’, albeit with a few tweakments, as well as really looking after our dental hygiene.

So where and when did this change come from for imperfect teeth? Momentum has been building for a while and some of the most beautiful faces of our time – who have access to the creme de la creme of dentists – choose to showcase their imperfect teeth, making them a trademark rather than hiding away. Madonna, Vanessa Paradis and Georgia May Jagger have celebrated smiles, showing off a gap in the teeth, and model, Kate Moss, with her jagged smile, brought ‘British’ teeth to the world of luxury fashion. But the trend really became the talk of the town in May 2019 when Gucci Beauty released an image advertising its new collection of its fabulous lipsticks that immediately blew up the internet.

The ‘controversial’ photo, shot in ‘80s glamorised style by legendary, British photographer Martin Parr (born in Epsom), was perfect-imperfect and featured a close-up of the red-lipsticked, gap-toothed mouth of Surfbort (a Brooklyn-based punk band) musician Dani Miller. “For the Bright, Bold, and Beautiful,” the ad read, her smile is described as ‘goofy, wild, not incredibly white, and refreshingly and shockingly un-veneered’.

Even so, many of us still want a helping hand with the imperfect look, but what are the options for just a tweak to tidy things up? Dentists report that we are being more patient and are prepared to wait for results rather than instant fixes. Clear aligners are hugely popular, straightening teeth over
time. And the likes of composite bonding could be a tooth tweakment solution in minor cases of crooked teeth, instead of braces.

We still want white teeth but done more gently, and we are realising just how effective a trip to the hygienist can be. Treatments such as the Airflow Sparkle Polish, an advanced teeth hygiene procedure that uses bicarbonate powder to remove stains, plaque and tartar, are also helping us achieve whiter teeth.

“The Hollywood Smile with stark white large veneers are grins of the past. Patients are a lot more savvy about their dental health and prefer to consider more conservative ways of improving their smile,” says the Dental Rooms’ Angela Auluck. “Dentists are now focusing on ‘face-driven dentistry’ which is a more discreet approach, improving one’s own natural teeth. This is very simply done with a three step process of braces, bleaching and bonding. The teeth are aligned with discreet braces such as Invisalign aligners, a system of clear plastic aligners which are hardly noticeable when worn. We follow this by tooth whitening and then bonding, which is the layering of tooth coloured resin to the edges of the front teeth to give a more uniform and balanced appearance.”

We’re also paying closer attention to protecting what nature gave us in the first place. Alan Wilson, of Alan Wilson Dentistry in Epsom, says that prevention is always better than cure and notes: “Limiting harmful sugar intake and regularly seeing the hygienist and dentist are key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums and that also leads to an overall healthier body.”

Most of us brush twice a day, visit a dentist and floss, but what else can we do? Avoid coffee, red wine and stop smoking, but also watch out for hidden enemies such as juices and trends such as swigging apple cider vinegar, which can erode teeth. If you have consumed something acidic, avoid brushing your teeth for about 30 minutes afterwards as it may damage the enamel. Also, don’t rinse your mouth out with water after brushing your teeth as you can remove the fluoride delivered during brushing.