You can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true, but it doesn’t stop people unfairly judging us on our looks. Your smile influences how others perceive you. For example, if you have lower protruding teeth you may be viewed as aggressive. If you have a gap in your upper teeth, people may think you’re not too bright (picture Lloyd Christmas from Dumb & Dumber). That’s just the way it is.
The mechanics of a smile
Do you know it takes 12 muscles to smile and 113 muscles to frown? Melancholy is exhausting! When you smile you feel good about yourself; others get a good vibe, too. By smiling at someone, you send a message that they’re attractive, pleasant and likeable. You put them at ease.
Unfortunately people’s perceptions can affect your success in life. A study in America looked at recruitment companies. Recruiters were shown manipulated images that gave some people sticky-out teeth and some crooked teeth. The study showed candidates with bite problems were less likely to get a position.
Of course, people’s perceptions also affect how you feel about yourself. There have been many psychological tests that show people feel better about themselves if their teeth aren’t crooked.
So, we’ve addressed the, perhaps, superficial side of bite problems. However, whether you care about your looks or not, consider your physical health.
Your mouth is the gateway to your body — gum disease, missing teeth and cavities can have a negative effect on your health.
Some conditions cause by bad teeth
- Heart disease — about 91% of people with heart disease have inflammation in the mouth (periodontitis).
- Diabetes — people with periodontitis tend to have less ability to control blood sugar levels.
- Bad breath — as if a bite problem wasn’t enough! Gum disease can also lead to bad breath.
Turn that frown upside down
Okay, smiling is good. That we all agree on. However, what if you have crooked or missing teeth? It can seriously knock your confidence — you’re more likely to hide your teeth than flash a “gappy” smile. And, of course, the health issues are a concern.
The obvious course of action is to see your orthodontist or dentist. The sooner you address a dental issue the better, and there are many options available. For example, braces are not reserved just for teenagers; it is never too late to get orthodontic treatment. Braces are also far more comfortable and less obtrusive than they used to be (check out 4 types of braces).
Everyone deserves to enjoy good physical and mental health. It’s a shame when poor teeth get in the way.
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