I've got teeth on the brain.
Oh, wait, that sounds kind of weird. My teeth are, thankfully, in my gums, right where they're supposed to be, not on my brain. Let's start this over.
I've got teeth on my mind. (Much better.) Chickie and I went to the dentist yesterday, and it was a good visit. I'm lucky to have healthy teeth; so much of that is just based on genetics. I have bad eyes and good teeth. I don't have a mouthful of fillings, but I do have eyes full of contact lenses.
Anyway, with teeth on my mind, I found myself wondering, Are my teeth white enough?
Look at pictures of modern celebrities. Their teeth are usually amazingly white, just short of blindingly white. Clearly when it's someone's business to be beautiful in 2010, part of their job includes getting their teeth whitened.
I tried an over-the-counter tooth whitening gel several years ago, but I didn't stick with it, and I don't know how much difference it made. These days, my teeth are their natural color. They aren't perfectly white, but don't have terrible staining either.
They're pretty white, right? Ah, but they could look like this, for a nominal fee:
I have to admit, it bugs me that we're getting to the point that the natural color of teeth just isn't white enough in our culture. Hardly anyone has teeth that are naturally as white as bleached teeth are.
But then I think about my straight teeth. I'd be very snaggletoothed if it hadn't been for a good orthodontist. I've never regretted getting braces; our culture values straight teeth, and I enjoy having them. So what's the difference between getting braces and whitening your teeth? Between brow waxing and breast enhancement? Between lipstick and collagen injections?
We all make judgment calls about how much we'll artificially alter our appearances--about what's reasonable and what's just too much. When it comes down to it, there's nothing inherently evil about any of these things. If you bleach your teeth, that's fine! (I might do it someday!) I simply wish we lived in a culture that didn't give us so many messages saying, "Who you are isn't quite enough. But we can sell you the solution."
For now I think I'll stick with my somewhat white teeth. But looking at the photos above, my brows are begging me to find the tweezers....