Last week I went to the orthodontist to sign up Eve, my 12-year-old, for braces. The place was kind of creepy—everyone’s teeth were so bright and almost neon white. I joked with the hot-looking receptionist that I felt inadequate and out of place. It all made my eyeballs hurt. Suddenly my perfectly normal and healthy middle-aged teeth seemed like rodent teeth, or worse, like coffee-and-tea-drinking shagadelic British teeth.
On cue, as if it was a TV commercial, the receptionist said, “We all use Crest Whitestrips! Would you like to try some?”
Suddenly, I was facing a moral dilemma of epic proportions. Should I whiten my teeth or shouldn’t I? You have to understand, I don’t die my hair (it’s frizzy and grey). I don’t use nail polish. I can barely stand to wear shoes. I hardly ever wear makeup, although I DO shave my legs and armpits. Where does teeth-whitening fit into my philosophy? Would I lose a part of my soul, like Susan Boyle lost her whole fabulous sassy look when someone plucked her signature eyebrows?
A recent article on Rodale.com told me that teeth-whitening is fairly safe to do, as long as you don’t overdo it. But does a sudden longing for a brighter smile match my own “where health meets green” mission? And more importantly, will it hurt? I have heard a number of people say that their teeth get really sensitive from the process, and that it does hurt. But I’ve got this box of Whitestrips in my purse, and I feel like it’s burning a hole in it.
What should I do? Should I or shouldn’t I? Eve says I should ask all of you. Please advise!