How much does having white teeth really affect your life? The answer is more than you might initially think or even believe. There are many different social and cultural perceptions that surround tooth colour. The colour of your teeth can have a huge effect on many different aspects of your life, including your psychological health, interaction with others, love life, and personal or professional advancement.
Social and Cultural Perceptions about White Teeth
The authors of “Straight, white teeth as a social prerogative” present a few arguments on why white teeth have become so important in today’s society. Carlos Quinonez states that “A ‘perfect’ smile indicates youthfulness, health and high social status; an ‘imperfect’ smile indicates ill-health and a lack of social status [and that] this links to our focus on individualism, consumerism, and sculpting our bodies to meet social expectation.” His co-author Abeer Khalid also states that “the presence of media representations creates tremendous pressure on individuals to conform to societal ideals. Thus, understandably so, individuals with a dental appearance that does not conform to the ideal imposed by the dominant social and market culture are at risk of facing negative social judgment.”
Outside pressures as well as internal pressures both work together to form an expectation of a clean, white-toothed image from somebody considered to be youthful, healthy, and with relatively high social status. This appearance of having white teeth is both judged upon and strived for within societies because of the either positive or negative reactions that it can cause.
Self Image and Psychological Health
One’s psychological health can be very closely tied to the strength of their self-image. If a person feel’s bad about what they look like and how they present themselves, they might begin to have a negative personal narrative, shy away from interaction with others, or be constantly worried about what everybody else thinks of them. However, if somebody feels good about themselves, they will be more inclined to include themselves in social interactions, have more positive self-talk, and enjoy an overall more confident feeling.
Having white teeth can:
- Boost your confidence
- Result in more smiling
- Transform your idea of yourself and personal image
- Take years off of your appearance
- Give you a more healthy appearance
If you think about it, you always notice if somebody has beautiful white sparkly teeth or yellowish, gray, dirty looking teeth. Even without being judgmental, it is just something that the eye is drawn to, and it can highly impact a persons’ image for the good or the bad. This is because it is usually one of the first things others notice about the face. The way that others perceive you, as well as the way that you feel about yourself, can have a huge impact on not just your image but also your day-to-day life. The colour of your teeth can dictate how much you smile, your level of self worth, and even your personality.
Dating and Personal Interactions
First impressions are everything! In regards to straight teeth, Dr. Michelle Callahan, renowned TV host, relationship expert, coach, and development psychologist, says that there “have been studies that indicate lasting impressions are made within the first three seconds of seeing someone”. While this quote is in relation to a study about straight teeth, it still holds the same truth; the colour of your teeth really can affect your destiny. If somebody can create a lasting impression of you within the first three seconds that they meet you, wouldn’t you want it to be with a welcoming white pearly smile? In a British Dental Journal study they found that “tooth colour exerts an influence on social perceptions [and that] the results may be explained by negative beliefs about dental decay, such as its link with poor oral hygiene”.
When it comes to dating and being attracted to somebody, it is important to remember that white teeth show signs of youth and beauty, while stained teeth show signs of ageing and possible bad health or hygiene. A great smile might act as a form of visual signage to the opposite sex about your age, health, and candidacy as a partner.
In the workplace, being confident and pleasant aesthetically can go a long way when paired with skill and working hard. While it isn’t a sole reason that you will get promoted, have success with your teams, or make more sales - it is still a contributing factor. As mentioned before, the colour of your teeth greatly play into your overall confidence, appearance, and others’ perception of you. Having these things work together for the positive will help immensely in the work place.
Do you want to benefit from the effects that a beautiful white smile can have on your life? Then the next step would be to whiten your smile.
Depending on the severity of discoloration and your budget, you can choose from a variety of options for teeth whitening at home, from simple whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes, to whitening strips and professional at home teeth whitening kits which offer a faster way to a brighter smile.