When I was a kid, my mother and my orthodontist conspired to ruin my smile. Okay, okay, they conspired to fix my smile. I had a terrible overbite, crooked teeth, and massive crowding. So at the tender age of eight, I was fitted for braces and spent the next several years dreading my monthly visits to get them checked and tightened. The flip side of getting braces so young, of course, was that when most kids were getting them on, I was getting them off.
At the rebellious age of 13, my smile was beautiful. Seriously, I got compliments all the time. But the retainer I was directed to wear was one of those hard plastic ones. I was supposed to wear it any time I wasn’t eating or drinking–and it completely disgusted me. I thought it looked like my teeth had a seal of saliva over them at all times. And the idea of popping out that thing in front of my friends so that I could eat horrified me.
Maybe–maybe–a few years older would have provided me with enough perspective to understand that the retainer was salvaging my glorious smile. As it was, I never wore it during the day. Sometimes I wore it at night, but those occasions grew fewer and fewer. My teeth began to slide and crowd again, and the compliments lessened. Then I had kids, and began requiring numerous daily cups of coffee to function. So on top of crooked teeth, my teeth became stained. It’s hard enough to smile when you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, but when you’re also devastated by the thought of your own teeth, you develop a mastery of closed lips.
As of now, I still have the crowded teeth–maybe one day I’ll afford to fix that–but I was recently able to trial a home whitening product that changed my perception of my smile more than I honestly thought was possible without spending thousands of dollars.
This is a sponsored post, which means I received compensation in the form of money or trial products in exchange for an honest review–however, Betty’s Battleground is very selective about who I accept as sponsors (seriously–just ask all the PR people who constantly email me). This is still part of the same honest and relevant content you’re familiar with.
The product is called Smile Brilliant. It’s a professional grade whitening system that you can do from home. Instead of spending tons of money visiting a dentist, you receive a kit at home that allows you to create personalized teeth molds which you then return. Within a week, you have custom-fitted whitening trays delivered to your doorstep.
Appearances aren’t everything. I recently read an article about how important it is for women to be comfortable not being beautiful. And I absolutely agree with that. But I also believe that if there is a simple and relatively affordable way to help yourself feel confident doing something as healthy as smiling, there’s really no reason not to.
Here are some of the best benefits of smiling often:
Smiling reduces stress.
It’s true. Scientists have discovered that if you actually make yourself smile–even when you’d rather scowl–you may actually activate parts of your brain that help produce feelings of relaxation and joy. According to biochemist Sondra Barrett, smiling may actually help alleviate stress on a cellular level. So theoretically, feeling confident enough to smile can help ameliorate some of the symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and even PTSD.
Smiling is a universal social cue.
A lot of physical gestures change meaning between cultures. If you’ve ever seen Inglorious Bastards, you know what I mean. Three fingers anyone? But smiling is universal. All people understand smiles and laughter. Okay it’s a cliche, but it’s an important one. Because genuine smiles–the ones that go to your eyes, the ones that beam those teeth (white or not)–they indicate that a person is experiencing pleasure. Which has become a pretty big conversation topic lately.
Smiles help reassure other people.
When you smile, it helps put other people at ease. As a mom, that’s a pretty big and important task. If something uncomfortable is going on, or my kids are feeling scared, I generally want to protect them as best as I can. In situations of acute danger, smiling may not be the best reaction–but it certainly helps ease a toddler through a patch of airplane turbulence.
Those are just a few reasons why smiling is great. Mind you: they are not excuses for telling women to smile more. People don’t have to smile if they don’t want to, and we’re all certainly allowed our sad feelings too. But isn’t it wonderful to be able to smile–really smile–when we want to?
Smile Brilliant didn’t magically fix all of my self-esteem issues–nor do they claim to be able to–but they did whiten my teeth significantly, which has added an extra level of confidence to an aspect of my appearance that I feel especially vulnerable about.
The product was really easy to use as well. After receiving my personalized dental trays, I applied a thin strip of whitening gel to them, and set them against my teeth for about an hour. The label warns that users should exercise caution if they ever experience tooth sensitivity–which I do. So for the first week, I alternated my top and bottom teeth each evening before bed. The kit also came with a desensitizing gel that I applied similarly to the whitening gel for twenty minutes after the whitening session. Let me tell you: that gel works really well.
Once I was confident my teeth weren’t going to be in pain all the time, I started doing the treatment nightly, and saw the results accelerate significantly. The desensitizing gel is not supposed to be rinsed or brushed off after use, but one night, when I was especially tired, I accidentally began brushing my teeth after using it. I realized my mistake quickly, so I only brushed off about half of my upper teeth, but the next day, those very teeth ached quite a bit. So that’s my one firm recommendation: if you’re prone to tooth sensitivity, use the desensitizing gel as directed with each whitening.
Smile Brilliant has made a wonderful offer to my readers. You can enter to win a FREE customized whitening kit, valued at $149 if you a resident of the US, UK, Canada, or Australia. You can enter to win by following this link, which will take you to Smile Brilliant’s secure internal website:
OR if you don’t want to wait for the contest to end and you just want to go straight to purchasing it, Smile Brilliant is offering Betty’s Battleground readers 15% off right now. Just enter the code bettysbattleground15