By now a lot of people have seen Crest’s ad for Crest 3D White Whitestrips featuring women talking about passing the “tissue test.” While thinking about your oral health, hygiene, and the condition of your teeth (even their shade) is not normally a problem, the unhealthy factor in this commercial is focusing on trying to achieve an unnatural level of whiteness in your smile.
According to this ad, if your teeth aren’t white compared to a chemically whitened piece of tissue, then your teeth aren’t white enough and you need to fix them. How do we know tissues are artificially white? According to Kimberly Clark, the maker of one of the most popular brands of tissues (Kleenex®), bleach their pulp using a “process called Elemental chlorine-free bleaching which does not create dioxins during the bleaching process” proving that such a level of white is not often found naturally.
While no one should have their smile shamed regardless of what colour their teeth are, there’s nothing wrong with having a perfectly white or even off-white smile. Comparing your teeth to a piece of tissue can be bad for your body image and mental health, and unnecessarily whitening your teeth to an obscenely bright shade of white can be very detrimental to your oral health, and result in taking a obscene amount of whitening treatments. The key is finding a balance with teeth whitening, and consulting your dentist or dental hygienist can go much further than simply holding up a piece of tissue paper.