America’s obsession with perfecting its teeth.
“But never before has mankind’s obsession with the smile been so easily actionable. Cosmetic dentistry now represents the largest nonsurgical beauty industry after makeup. This includes the multibillion-dollar teeth-whitening business, which began in earnest in the 1990s with dentists applying peroxide gel directly to the teeth; soon they incorporated blue LED lights to accelerate the process. Non-dentists caught on, and the technology became available in salons, shopping-mall kiosks, and online. (State boards staffed by dentists pounced, threatening retailers and sparking legal action; the Supreme Court recently ruled against them.) Teeth whitening has now trickled so far down-market as to be a mainstay of any grocery store, from home kits to additives in Colgate.”