The human brain is hardwired to focus on people’s eyes and mouth as we interact, meaning your smile gets a lot of attention. In a recent article published on the Daily Mail Online, Researchers at the University of Southern California actually found that men look at the mouth of who they are speaking to more than women do during conversation.
As a result- even if it is subconscious- it’s not unusual for people who are self-conscious about their teeth to struggle with self-esteem. Fortunately, we are in the business of being able to help our patients feel more confident and reclaim their smile. The way we feel about ourselves physically is very closely linked to how we feel about ourselves emotionally. Negative self-image can lead to low self-esteem and this has been found to be especially true of teeth.
This is partly due to social media and the fact it is flooded with the widespread popularity of tooth straightening procedures alongside teeth whitening treatments, which has supposedly ‘raised the standards’ on what people think of as ‘good teeth.’
And like other unrealistic body standards imposed on us by society, well-aligned and bright white teeth are actually now strongly associated with health and prosperity. With social media being so popular amongst all age groups and with it being saturated with perfectly straight, pearly white teeth, there is no wonder why people of all ages end up feeling self-conscious about their own smile.
60% of people cover their mouth when they smile
Unsurprisingly, there is a wealth of science confirming a connection between dental issues and poor self-esteem. One poll found that 70% of people admit to feeling insecure about their teeth and 60% cover their mouth when they laugh. These people reported that they wished they could change their teeth and discolouration was the most common complaint.
Not only do your teeth play a part in how you feel about yourself, it may also play a role in the kind of interactions you have. A wide and open smile demonstrates availability, eagerness and an interest to interact. On the other hand, failing to flash a grin with an open smile, especially if you fail to respond to someone else’s smile, can elicit negativity in the reaction from the person you are conversing with.
This means hiding your smile may contribute to feelings of low self-worth because it could lead to a reduction in the number of positive interactions you have. Positive interactions with peers, family and friends can work to reinforce feelings of self-worth. If how you feel about your teeth is making you smile less, it could rob you of the joy of interaction.
Smiling can actually make you a happier person
Science has taught us that the frequency of how often we smile can have an effect on how happy we are. Smiling can actually make you a happier person, even if it’s in response to nothing in particular. The more intense you smile and the more you use the muscles that contribute to the smile, the greater the emotional impact.
The brain cannot detect if it is a genuine smile or not, all it knows is the muscles are working to make you perform the action and this can lead to the release of happy hormones.
The good news is, we can win back that confidence for them. There are plenty of things we can do to improve their situation and boost their self-esteem. From tooth whitening, to composite bonding/veneers, to restorative work, to optimising their oral health. It starts with a trip to see us and getting that information about their options across to them. They may not even know that their self-esteem is affected so much by their smile.
They may not realise that having a healthy, halitosis free mouth can contribute so massively to their self-confidence. There may also be some anxiety about approaching the subject. If they can refer to something they have seen and read on the waiting room TV or indeed via your social media channels, it may help them initiate that conversation with us, especially if they are prompted by an engaging, educational video which showcases your services and your positive outcomes. This is all available for you on www.envisagedental.net waiting room TV.