Smiling and happiness are typically seen to go hand-in-hand, and people assume that if you’re smiling you must be enjoying your life and have a positive outlook. But can it be the other way around? Can your teeth impact your happiness and even your success in life? It might seem like your expression is simply an indication of your mood, but studies are starting to show that your teeth can have a wide reaching impact on your confidence and how you feel about yourself as well.
It Starts Young
Establishing a good dental hygiene routine typically begins in your formative years, when your parents teach you to brush your teeth twice a day and keep the sweets to a minimum. This wasn’t just because they wanted you to have fresh breath, although of course this is important. They also wanted to make sure your teeth and gums were well taken care of because, as Medical Daily reports, “Pediatric dental issues not only create unhappiness due to the pain that is associated with it, but it can also cause self-esteem issues that a child will carry with them into their adolescent and adult lives.” If you don’t learn how to take care of your teeth when you are young, it can follow you for the rest of your life.
Bad Teeth Can Impact Your Self Image
If you’ve ever had a day when you just don’t feel your best, it can make you unhappy. Something that you don’t like about your appearance, such as having an unsightly pimple or even a bad hair day, can drag your entire mood down. The same thing can happen with teeth, but instead of the problem disappearing on its own with time (and maybe a bit of acne cream) bad teeth are harder to hide or correct.
Your smile, and especially your teeth because they are the foundation of your smile, have a lot to do with this. Studies prove that the way your smile looks changes the way other people see you as well, “An attractive smile plays a major role in the overall perception of physical attractiveness... Studies confirm the importance of attractiveness on perceived success and self-esteem…” A winning smile can mean the difference between someone finding you attractive or not.
Feeling attractive gives you a more positive outlook. When you think you look your best, you tend to radiate confidence that other people will notice. Not wanting to smile and expose discolored, crooked, or rotting teeth can have a negative influence on the way you see yourself. People who have dental problems do not consider themselves as attractive as they would like to be, leading to a lot of unhappy feelings originating with bad teeth. A General Dentistry report spells out the issue pretty clearly, “A self-perceived negative psychosocial impact of anterior dental esthetics was detected in subjects with higher levels of dental caries and visible gingival inflammation in the anterior region of the mouth.” When people have visible teeth problems, they tend to think more negatively about themselves.
Your Success Is at Stake
Your smile can impact your success. If you are focused on hiding your teeth, it can make you seem negative or unwelcoming. People who never smile can be pretty off-putting. Studies have confirmed that a person with healthy and visibly nice teeth will see some wide-reaching effects, “An improved smile is not only linked to enhanced confidence and self-esteem, but may possibly be associated with employment opportunities (US Department of Health & Human Services 2010; Singhal et al. 2013).” When your smile is pleasant, you’ll feel good about yourself and you might just land a better job. This doesn't mean you need to spend a fortune on cosmetic dentistry. Sometimes a simple DIY teeth whitening treatment will do the trick.
Once again, this issue can start when you are young. “Children with tooth aches were four times more likely to have a low grade point average, below the median GPA of 2.8, compared to children who did not have any oral pain.” While there are many factors that influence this problem, such as access to dental care, the end result is that dental problems can greatly impact how successful you are even as a child. Although not the be all and end all, if your teeth look and feel healthy, you are much more likely to be happy and successful in every aspect of your life.
 Poladian, Charles. "Can Bad Teeth Affect a Child's School Grades? - Medical Daily." Medical Daily. N.p., 19 Sept. 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.
 Kihn, Patricia W. "Vital Tooth Whitening." Dental Clinics of North America 51.2 (2007): 319-31.
 Pliver-Solomon, D; Carbonella, XX; Bush, AC; Katz, Ralph / Psychosocial impact of anterior dental aesthetics on periodontal health, dental caries and oral hygiene practices in young adults. In: General Dentistry, 2015, p. In press.
 Khalid, Abeer, and Carlos Quiñonez. "Straight, White Teeth as a Social Prerogative." Sociology of Health & Illness 37.5 (2015): 782-96.
 Tucker, Nikki. "Lack of Access to Dental Care Can Lead to Poor Grades ..." N.p., 13 Aug. 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.