We like to think that people see our inner character. They know that even if we have external flaws, we’re generally a good person, doing our best to make our way in the world. The problem with this view is that it ascribes too much insight into the people around us. For the most part, friends, colleagues and even partners aren’t delving deep into our souls to create an accurate picture of our character traits. Instead, they’re just going on external appearances – what we look like is more potent than what we do. So, like it or not, your smile affects what people think of you.
The problem is that as individuals, we do the same thing, often without realizing it. We see somebody with a particular physical trait and then use that as a shortcut to form conclusions about them. It’s a time-saving device, but often an unhelpful one.
What Your Smile Says About You
Research shows that the state of your smile affects what people think about you to a great deal. A study by Kelton Research of more than a thousand people, for instance, found that people rated those who had beautiful, white smiles as more intelligent, more educated, happier and more financially stable. Many also rated them as more socially attractive and more able to get ahead in the dating world.
With so many positive associations with having straight and white teeth, it is no surprise that so many people want a perfect smile. It is a ticket to all kinds of life opportunities, not just in the dating world, but in work too. But why having great teeth has these associations is a bit of a chicken and egg problem. Do successful people have beautiful teeth because they can afford it? Or do people with great smiles have remarkable lives because of their teeth? It’s not always clear.
The direction of causation isn’t actually important when you think about it. What matters is that you do the things that maximize your chances of success in whatever area of life matters to you – and teeth can play an important role.
It’s Never Too Late To Sort Out Your Teeth
Unfortunately, many people believe that there’s nothing that they can do about the state of their teeth. They’re “too far gone,” they tell themselves.
This belief, however, is far from the truth. Modern dentistry can solve practically any problem with teeth – and that’s not an understatement. It doesn’t matter if all your teeth are black, rotten and falling out. Likewise, if you have a problem with your bite or your gums are enormous: these are issues that dentists can solve. Whitening after braces is trivial.
So, in conclusion, the lesson is that the state of your teeth can have a material effect on your life chances. Like it or not, people judge you on the way that your teeth look. The good news, though, is that there is plenty that you can do about it. Perfect teeth are within your grasp and a significant investment in your future.