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Redefining perfect teeth, Aquafresh portrays kids with radiant, gap-toothed smiles

Narrowly-defined beauty standards impact not just adults, but children as young as four. Research by Haleon, parent company of toothpaste brand Aquafresh, found that nearly half of British children aged 4 to 11 have suffered from low confidence because of how their teeth look — which is to say, not like a set of flawless, Hollywood-style pearly whites.

Rachel Deans, VP & Global Business Leader of Oral Health at Haleon points out: "The perfectly straight, white smile is on show in every movie we watch, every sports star we admire and gleaming through our phone screens courtesy of a bevy of influencers."

In response, Aquafresh commissioned a series of portraits by British photographer Rankin, celebrating the gappy smiles and wonky teeth most kids flash as they transition from baby to adult teeth. The brand aims to redefine dental aesthetics as #justhealthyteeth.

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Filters and amateur photo editing have become standard fare for snapshots and selfies as their subjects chase notions of perfection. Generative AI could bump those beauty standards to entirely new levels of impossible-to-achieve, perpetuating human feelings of inadequacy. (AI beauty pageants are a taste of what's to come...)

How will your brand shape children's self-esteem in the age of AI beauty standards? Can you integrate creativity and compassion into your messaging to nurture a healthy self-image from a young age? And if you've embraced filters or image-generation tools, do they uphold unrealistic expectations or celebrate authenticity?