From self-esteem to career success, these are the far-reaching benefits of beautiful teeth.
In an ideal world, appearances wouldn’t mean a thing. Our success and opportunities would be a direct result of our own hard work and perseverance. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In the real world, many factors come into play when you apply for a job or put yourself forward for promotion. You are considered for your skills and your enthusiasm, but you are also evaluated, consciously or not, on the way you look, the way you carry yourself and the way you smile.
Over the years, a number of studies and polls have been carried out that definitively prove that the quality of a smile can make a huge difference with regards to someone’s career and chances of success. But how much of a great first impression does a dazzling white smile really make? Do we all need to sport flawless smiles like our favourite American stars, or is it enough to demonstrate enviable levels of strength and self-confidence? Are teeth whitening and invisible braces really the solution to our career woes?
Even Recruiters Make Snap Judgements Based on Physical Appearance
The average face-to-face job interview might last around 45 minutes to one hour, but the reality is that most interviewers know whether they will hire you or not after the first 90 seconds. How can anyone make a rational, sound decision after such a short time? It all boils down to base instincts and first impressions. Though we have come a long way since our cavemen ancestors, we still make an immediate and unconscious assumption about people based on what we see — we simply can’t help it. Generally, when we see a beautiful smile on a smartly dressed candidate, we make positive assumptions about their character, outlook and working ability.
One study proves this quite well. Test subjects were shown over 500 before-and-after photos of people who have had cosmetic dental treatments. The participants were asked to evaluate the people in the photos for traits such as success, kindness and intelligence. Overwhelmingly, the participants assigned more positive attributes to the individuals in the post-treatment photos.
So the odds are your boss or your hiring manager is making judgements about you, on some level, based on the quality of your smile. After all, one of the first things we notice about someone is their mouth. One study found that nearly 30% of its participants listed teeth as the first thing they noticed when meeting someone new, with 24% saying it is the facial feature they most remember. The same study found that men and women with straight teeth were perceived as more happy, healthy and smart when compared to those with crooked or missing teeth. Furthermore, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research found part of the psychological reason we attribute poor oral health to other negative characteristics is that we assume there is a deeper underlying issue causing dental issues. There are a lot of diseases and illnesses that can present through teeth and gums, while conversely, healthy teeth signal someone who is strong and successful.
A Simple Smile Can Make a Huge Difference
Some argue that it isn’t necessarily the quality of your smile that matters — it’s the fact that you smile at all. Another study has demonstrated that we are more likely to think someone is trustful and competent when they are smiling, rather than appearing neutral.
The problem is, not everyone is comfortable with their physical appearance — they wish they had straighter teeth, whiter teeth or fewer gaps. When you’re self-conscious about your teeth, it is harder to flash a smile, so we are perceived as less secure, which can directly impact our career success.
Your Bad Breath Could Be Costing You!
Bad teeth affect more than just your smile — they can also cause bad breath. Bad breath can result from poor oral health, but it can also be a result of the food you eat or even a health issue, such as acid reflux or a sinus infection. An employer might be happy to look past an imperfect smile, but halitosis is something altogether different and much more difficult to ignore. In fact, bad breath and body odour are two of the secret reasons you may not have secured a job in the past. If your hiring manager is put off by your breath, they are unlikely to conduct an in-depth interview, so your odds of securing the opportunity greatly diminish.
To pinpoint the cause of your bad breath, visit your local dentist — you’ll soon be on the road to healthy teeth and gums.
A Dazzling White Smile Could Mean Career Success
Does your earning potential increase as your teeth get whiter? It might not be that simple, but there are certainly studies to suggest that whiter teeth are linked to increased success. One study that simulated job interviews found that candidates with the whitest teeth were 58% more likely to make a good first impression. The same study found that participants were deemed to be more professional and more confident once they had undergone teeth whitening. British Dental Journal published a report that showed similar findings.
We Associate Straight Teeth with Success
Of course, it’s not all about the whiteness of your teeth — as we all know, the perfect healthy smile is also straight. In fact, three out of four people are more likely to trust someone if they have straight teeth. This could go a long way to explaining why dental veneers have soared in popularity over the years.
One study, conducted by Kelton, found job candidates with straight teeth were 45% more likely to be hired when compared to those who had crooked teeth. Not only that — those with straight teeth earned more. People with straight teeth are also 58% more likely to be successful and 58% more likely to be wealthy.
So what are your options if you have crooked teeth and you feel they are holding you back? Thankfully, there is a range of orthodontic treatments that don’t involve the need for traditional braces. Technology has advanced and we have developed Invisalign, otherwise known as invisible braces. Invisible braces are a teeth-straightening alternative that makes use of clear aligners, and the result is a great smile without the inconvenience of metal braces.
It’s All about the Halo Effect
The power of a beautiful, healthy smile is truly mind-boggling — but psychology can go some way to explain why we attribute so many favourable characteristics to attractive people. It’s all about the Halo Effect. In 1920, Edward Thorndike coined the phrase “Halo Effect”. Essentially, when we attribute one positive quality to a person, we are more likely to attribute more. So although looks can, of course, be deceiving, there certainly seems to be a very real correlation between your dental healthcare and career success.