THE CHANGING SHAPE OF JAPANESE TEETH:
New Cosmetic Treatments Promote Smiles
October 6, 1998
Cosmetic dentistry to beautify teeth has long been a mainstay of Western culture, and now it is catching on in Japan, especially among women in their thirties with time and money to spare for the treatment. While the Japanese have long recognized the importance of good oral hygiene, only quite recently have women evidenced special interest in improving the appearance of their teeth. Cosmetic dentistry is, as a result, becoming a prime source of new business for the dental industry.
Western Values Reshape Teeth
But these days Japanese women who use expensive makeup and frequent hair salons for the sake of their looks are starting to take a similar interest in the appearance of their teeth. Among the reasons behind their choice is the perception that whiteness contributes to a youthful look and that a straight row of teeth sharpens the line running from the cheeks to the chin, making the face appear smaller.
New Treatments Boost Popularity
Even with the new cosmetic treatments available, there are still those who opt for braces, the traditional approach to orthodontics. This may require frequent trips to the dentist over a 2 to 3 year period, but the results are more permanent.
Many women seem to find their improved appearance worth the time, money, and pain that accompanies cosmetic treatment. One dentist concurs, observing that bad teeth can be a source of stress. Many Japanese women who unconsciously cover their mouths with their hands when laughing may be uncomfortable with the appearance of their teeth. Straightening the teeth contributes to one's overall health by improving chewing efficiency, which aids digestion. The psychological effects of a great smile can even result in better posture.
There seems to be no end in sight for Japan's recession, but the market is bullish on women who see cosmetic treatments as an ideal self-investment.
Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.