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6 Mar 2018

The social media generation

In comparison to Americans, Europeans have never been known for having the best looking teeth. But a recent feature in The Irish Examiner says that more people than ever are spending more on cosmetic dentistry. The piece talks about how a lot of this is linked to an increased value in cosmetic treatment. As a large practice with specialists, we often treat adults with restorative treatments such as dental implants, cosmetic treatments where a patients smile is rebuilt, tooth straightening options and even total smile makeovers. We have certainly noticed more people looking for ways to improve their looks and teeth, even if they don’t work in front of a camera or on a stage.

One factor is certain. Our lives are increasingly broadcast on social media and even wiki-how have published a guide to posing for the perfect photo. Photo sharing is a standard part of social media with social occasions and even personal photos destined to be uploaded and shared very quickly. The demand to look good before our audience is high.

As professionals, we do worry about the changing face of the world and the growing pressure on young people in particular to appear ‘perfect’ and camera ready. We of course never encourage patients to feel pressured to keep up with any online trend but beauty bloggers and social media fashion influencers can certainly be interesting to observe. There is an argument to say that a focus on the aesthetics of our teeth and face can bring about a drive to take care of things. In our experience, we have seen adult patients who, after investing in braces or a restorative smile makeover with our prosthodontist, really begin to prioritise their dental health more in order to keep their teeth and gums healthy and looking beautiful.

The health of our teeth is important. Alarming studies into high rates of tooth decay in adults and children and the effects of sugar have been in the news over the past few years and with good reason. Like all dental professionals who understand the health benefits of healthy teeth and gums we are always in support of initiatives which bring awareness to the preventive benefits of a good dental health routine and healthy diet.
So whether a patient comes in for more complex cosmetic treatments or just a routine hygiene appointment, the occasions when we do see their dental health change for the better, are wonderful.

In conclusion: There is very good reason for the ambivalence around the amount of photo sharing that goes on via social media and the pressures on us as a society to keep up. However, if a focus on looks leads to people caring more about their dental health, could this be a much needed silver lining for our teeth and gums?

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