The Psychological Consequences of Bad Teeth
It’s easy to see the physical benefits of good teeth – proper chewing (which allows for a good diet), sleeping well (without chronic pain from toothaches), and speaking properly (without any mouth deformities that cause speech impediments).
But have you ever thought about the social and psychological benefits? If you have nice, straight teeth, probably not. But if you’re unhappy with your smile, it probably haunts you almost every day of your life.
Nearly 70% of survey respondents said their oral health affected their quality of life. Those with bad teeth reported emotional anxiety, avoidance of close relationships, and fear of rejection.
In another study, 31.2% of children were ashamed to smile because of their teeth. For someone who, on average, should smile about 400 times a day, that’s a lot of missed grins. Ten percent of kids even said they stopped playing with other children because they were ashamed.
While we do our best to teach kids not to “judge a book by its cover,” research indicates that almost everyone does – kids and adults alike. Bad teeth are associated with defects in character, intelligence, and morals. Because of these quick judgments, people with bad teeth are less likely to be successful in their careers and personal relationships.
Over the long term, smiling benefits your perception at work, social life, romantic status, and overall happiness. With that much at stake, it makes skipping a few nights of brushing seem like a much bigger deal.