The quest for healthier-looking teeth goes back for centuries. As far back as 3000 B.C., people used “chew sticks” (aka, twigs) to clean their teeth. And—though gross—the ancient Romans discovered that ammonia from urine could whiten teeth. Fast-forward to today and you’ll see countless whitening gels, strips and toothpastes lining the isles. (These can remove stains so your teeth appear whiter, but they can’t actually whiten the tooth.) Aside from a diet of beets and coffee, other factors discolor our chompers: genetics, disease, poor hygiene and tobacco to name a few. The only procedures said to truly whiten teeth are done by a professional at the dentist’s office, such as the popular 45-minute Zoom whitening procedure, which uses UV rays to penetrate the stains on teeth. (Many celebs and TV personalities with blinding smiles have had professional whitening like this done so don’t think they just hit the genetic jackpot or use an amazing toothpaste.)
If we’re going to this much trouble to get a toothpaste commercial-worthy smile, does that mean it can actually boost your magnetism?
“I don’t think it’s the smile,” says Dr. Markman. “It’s how it affects the smiler. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy—you go out of your way to smile, which engages people more. If you feel you have a particularly winning smile, you’ll smile more. You interact more.”
I was going to repeat my experiment after getting my teeth whitened to see if people were that much warmer towards me. When I told my friends the plan, they said my teeth were already white enough. I started thinking about what really makes a genuine smile and decided to stick with my whitening toothpaste and not spring for professional whitening to go the extra mile (or eight shades). I also feared I’d be one of the few to actually end up getting side effects from the UV lights, even though it’s approved to be safe.
Instead of perfectly pearly white teeth, I found something else that brightens up my smile: a berry velvet lip pencil that I glide right on when I need a pick me up. I get at least one compliment a day when I wear it, which naturally makes me smile a little more.
In the end, I learned that true beauty doesn’t come down to plastering on a rigid grin when you’re not feeling it or sporting the brightest shade of white teeth. Instead, it’s about feeling comfortable enough with your real smile to show it.
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