The Power of a Bright, Shiny Smile

Whether it’s an interview or a first date, it’s the smile that usually gets noticed first. Because it says so much about you, it’s hard not to look for the smile—or the lack thereof—first. A smile can be inviting, sweet, curious; it can remind us of someone special, or even make us want to know more about a person. Some may say focusing so much on the importance of a smile can be superficial, but frivolous or not, the fact is your smile says a lot about you. And often it can be the determining factor between getting or not getting a job; it can even influence the direction of that first date.

When we think of a nice smile what’s the first thing pictured? That’s right, those pearly whites. Talking about one’s teeth can be uncomfortable, as so many of us are insecure about them—are they straight enough, white enough, etc.? But what a lot of people don’t know, is fixing crooked or yellowing teeth is much easier than it has ever been before. It’s difficult not to picture massive headgear with wires and contraptions hanging about; that big headpiece that just screams: “I have bad teeth!” Nowadays, there is simply no reason for anyone to be insecure about his or her teeth. And at Your Community Dental, we want to perfect your smile.

Before we get too far into the importance of a bright smile, let’s look at some recent studies done that indicate just how much a smile can do for you. Some studies have shown that a brilliant, confident smile subtly convinces an employer to risk providing you a higher salary package in the offer they make to you. Ever heard of a $10,000 smile? Well, there’s more truth to it than you think. A brilliant, bright smile tells a potential employer a lot about you: you are bold, confident, self-aware, and friendly. So, no matter what sort of job you’re aiming for, your smile can convey your personality—and it’s the conclusions drawn by the prospective employer that can add up to some real money, possibly thousands.

Picture This…

You are in an important interview for the job you always wanted and things are going well. You are at the point of negotiating salary and benefits packages. Obviously, you watch your tone, speaking calmly, soothingly, with confidence and excitement. But what you do next is what really finalizes the deal. What do you do next? You smile. As simple as it sounds, smiling during an interview will convey to the interviewer that you are relaxed, confident, in control, and warm and friendly. And that’s not just a selling point in the interview, but it’s a selling point with clients. Because, yes, your future employer is thinking about how you will be in front of their clients. So smile with confidence. It tells a lot more about you than you would think.

Just How Important is Your Smile?

We know a smile means a lot, but why are so many people insecure of their smile? A 2017 study conducted by the American Dental Association found some surprising concerns arising among Millennials. 33% were reluctant to smile at all; 20% reduced their social interactions due to concerns over dental problems; and about 28% expressed fears about the appearance of their teeth and mouth, which undermined their confidence to even take a job interview in the first place. Deep down, we know how crucial having a bright smile is, and this is why so many of us are unsure of how effective ours currently is.

Here are some other finds from that 2017 study:

  • 30% of Americans have some form of untreated tooth decay.
  • 35% have issues with biting or chewing.
  • And near 40% expressed a sense that life was “less satisfying” due to dental issues.

This just goes to show how much our overall oral health and smile impact our daily lives. A good smile can actually make you—the one with the smile—happier!

Think about it: you’re on a date and one of the things that you do look at is your date’s teeth, mouth, and smile. If you see bad teeth or if the person doesn’t smile at all, you will draw conclusions about whether you even want to continue to date. So, if we naturally make judgments and assessments of others when on a date, how much more does an interviewer think about these things? Poor dental health can be likened to poor fashion sense or clothing attire—we may not mean to convey some of the messages that we do, but that doesn’t mean others aren’t taking meaning from how we smile or what the health of our teeth and mouth seems to be.

Your Smile Can Make You More Money

Studies have shown for years that a brighter, straighter smile really does add to cold, hard cash. Have a more attractive smile than the average John or Jane Doe? You really do have a higher likelihood of better pay! And here’s the good news: have a better smile doesn’t mean there are good and bad ones. Your smile is unique and personal. Take confidence in that—that there really is no better, just different.

A study done by Kelton Research asked participants to compare images of varying states of oral health, unaware that their attitudes to straight versus crooked teeth were the real object of study. What was the conclusion? The straighter the teeth, the more we think that person has better qualities. We associate happiness, the ability to care for others, and professional success as some of the traits a person with straight teeth possess. Right or wrong, we just can’t help from making judgments about people based on their appearance. Sometimes appearance is all we have to go on.

A Bright Smile Produces Confidence  

Research has demonstrated that having straight teeth, and white teeth, has some surprising correlations. What we have found is those individuals who have stained, crowded or crooked teeth with an unpleasant smile tended to be more reticent and shy; more self-conscious and less confident. Those with straighter, whiter teeth? The opposite is true: more confidence, boldness, and less self-conscious.

Ultimately, we get hired by a company based on the presumption that our education and capabilities, our interpersonal skills and skill sets, as well as, our personality are all trustworthy. These are the things every potential employer wants to know about a candidate. We can get hired on trust and can be fired for breaking that trust. Smiling goes a long way to securing the trust of employers, because often times a resume just does not provide enough information about a person. A big, genuine smile from another person invites us to think of them as more genuine, kind, warm, and trustworthy. And when you’re discussing an initial job offer or a salary increase or promotion, a smile can be your winning hand in the card game of negotiations.

Checkout this statistic:

  • The Kelton Study found that 73% of people were more likely to trust someone who had a nice smile than if they had a good job, outfit, or car. Three-quarters of the respondents believe a smile adds up to solid trustworthiness.

Here are a few more:

  • The Kelton Study revealed that 29% of its respondents first take notice of one another’s teeth when first meeting them.
  • Nearly one-quarter said they most remember the condition of a person’s teeth.
  • 45% of respondents believed that those with straight teeth would be more likely to get the job, over those with crooked teeth.
  • And 58% believed that those with straight teeth were more likely to be both more successful and wealthier, over the long run, than those with crooked teeth.

Your Smile and You

Another interesting find from the Kelton Study includes the positive associations people make with straight teeth. 21% of respondents believe you will be happier than if you did not have straight teeth; 47% think you will be perceived as fit and healthy; and about 38% assume you are more intelligent. Do straight teeth add up to better perceptions? Yes, they really do. And even though these perceptions may or may not be true, this initial idea of the type of person you are still means so much.

Your Community Dental always wants the best for you. Here are a few quick tips for whitening your teeth.

Firstly, don’t discredit the basic procedures:

  1. Brush your teeth and don’t forget the floss! What could be worse, after primping and preening yourself, but to walk out of the house without having flossed and brushed. That single sesame seed stuck between your front teeth could be the very thing that kills your interview. Do not forget to brush and floss—that’s the easiest and most logical start.
  2. Use mouthwash. Swish and spit, both after brushing and also, just before the interview. Arrive early to your interview (always a smart move) and slip off to the bathroom to freshen your breath with another quick wash. Why not? You could have had some coffee on the way in and, frankly, coffee breath can get a bit rank. You want your interviewer or, if negotiating a salary increase at your current job, your boss to only smell minty, fresh breath. Make it easier, not harder, for people to give you want you want. Good, clean breath helps with that.

Here are a few advanced methods:

  1. Stay away from tray and gels. This whitening system has been around the longest. The process involves heating a tray, filling it with whitening gel, and inserting it to the mouth to form a bond. The problem with this method is that it can take weeks for results to show. And, most people who use the tray and gels report having teeth sensitivity afterwards.
  2. Use caution with whitening strips. The famous whitening strips have been around for ten years or so, and have had a lot of success. Results can show in about a week, and the process is easy: simply fold the strip over your top and bottom rows of teeth and keep in your mouth for a short period of time. It is important to be cautious, however, not to overlap the strips onto your gums. Over time, this can cause irritation. Also, if you use the strips too often, your teeth can become sensitive.
  3. When you have the time to wait, use paint-ons. The paint-on method solves the problem of the whitening agent interacting with interior soft tissues, such as the gums and inner cheek. You simply brush the whitening gel on each tooth and let it sit for a short period of time. Easy enough, right? The only down side to this method is it can take months before results can be seen, and you have to be diligent in getting the gel on each tooth daily.
  4. Whitening devices for the win. Though they may be a little more expensive than the others, whitening devices work the best. The device uses high-intensity lights to break down hydrogen peroxides to create more whitening agents on the teeth. The best part of using this method is your teeth will be much whiter in a matter of two days!

So don’t fret over you smile any longer. Come in and see us at Your Community Dental today and we can consult on what the best option for you is.