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Teeth tips to totally take the years off

On May 5, 2016

(NewsUSA) – Kirk Franklin immortalized it in the song, "You look much better when you smile." Now scientists are piling on the virtues of smiling. 

One way to appear younger than you are, according to a recent study, is to take care of your smile.

The study, conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry [AACD], showed that people are most likely to underestimate the age of a person if he or she is smiling.

"We tend to find smiling faces more attractive, youthful and upbeat," said Dr. Ed Lowe, editor-in-chief of the AACD's Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry. "A smile or laugh's age-defying power may lay in the fact that smile lines make it challenging for an observer to correctly predict a person's true age."

Dr. Chiann Gibson, AACD president, who practices in Naperville, Illinois, agrees.

"More than half the people over age 50 believe that a beautiful smile can overcome the effects of aging," she said.

Which is why, Dr. Gibson continues, 80 percent of adults claim they'd spend money to hide or correct signs of aging, and more than 60 percent would first spend on their teeth rather than on excess weight loss or plastic surgery.

The following tips will help you fight the effects of aging and keep your smile looking young:

  • Reshape your teeth. Dentists can often predict a patient's age by checking the wear patterns of their teeth because teeth naturally wear down, crack or chip as people get older.
  • Make wrinkles go away. Smile lines show a well-enjoyed life, but also tend to show your age. Use moisturize around your lips and wear a lipstick or gloss with an SPF of at least 15 (preferably higher). This will help prevent new wrinkles.
  • Whiten your teeth. While coffee and wine are delightful, they can leave stains, as can smoking and general neglect. Whitening your teeth can help prevent discoloration. A word of caution: Don't overdo it. A youthful smile is not obviously white, but healthfully white. Once teeth are whitened, try to avoid (or at least practice moderation) those things that can stain teeth, such as grape juice, coffee, red wine and smoking.

"They [baby boomers] see an attractive smile as youthful," said J.A. Reynolds, AACD Vice President, who runs a private practice in Franklin, Tennessee. "And looking one's best is a priority in modern society."

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