Readers ask, we answer: How can I feel more confident on video calls?

Taylor asks:

“I'm embarassed about my smile on video calls. How can I feel more confident?"

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Hi, Taylor! Video calls are a great way to stay in touch. They’re an opportunity to have face-to-face interaction with people we care about when we can’t see them in person for a while.

Having a camera on you while you chat may make you feel self-conscience about your appearance, particularly your teeth. If you’re looking for ways to boost your smile, here are some tricks that work and some habits you should avoid.

Tricks to try:

• Practice preventive care. Keep your smile bright and avoid oral health issues by brushing twice a day and flossing once.

• Visit your dentist regularly. Ask your dentist about the best and safest way to whiten or straighten your teeth. If you’re interested in orthodontics, check to see what your dental plan covers.

• Drink water. Drink water when enjoying coffee, wine and other beverages that can stain your teeth. Drinking water will help rinse your mouth and remove the staining beverages. You can also rinse with mouthwash or brush your teeth shortly after.

• Use camera tricks. Change up your camera angle and lighting to find a combination that flatters you. Adjust your posture so you’re sitting up straighter and looking straight ahead. You can also try color theory and wear an off-white or blue toned shirt instead of bright white, yellow, orange or brown. Off-white and blue clothes will make your teeth look brighter!

• Look in the mirror. Before your next video chat, check for food stuck between your teeth and flyaway hairs. Splash some water on your face, comb your hair and you’ll feel more confident in no time!

• Close your window. Not the one in your room! Focus on the other people in your call by closing or minimizing the preview window that shows you. 

Routines to rule out:

Smoking. Smoking can discolor your teeth and cause your gums to recede.

Following online trends. Some trends promote dangerous oral health habits, like using a nail file to reshape your teeth. This removes protective tooth enamel and increases your tooth sensitivity and risk of cavities and nerve damage. If you have concerns about your teeth, talk to your dentist about what you can do.

Making your own toothpaste. DIY toothpastes don’t contain fluoride to keep your teeth strong and protect against cavities. Common ingredients in DIY toothpastes, such as charcoal and baking soda, are abrasive and can damage your enamel. 

By sticking to oral health care methods that work and avoiding ones that don’t, you can feel confident during your next video call. Don’t turn off your camera and hide. Take pride in the effort you put into your oral health and show off your smile!