I visited my dentist today which always gives me something to smile about.
I know this might put me in the minority, but I actually look forward to seeing him. He’s hugely enthusiastic about what he does and I like spending time with people like that.
It helps that we share a mutual interest in dentistry and promoting good oral hygiene for young children. He has been incredibly supportive about Buddies toothpaste products right from the early days, as he’s personally seen the benefits of helping reluctant kids to want to brush by providing products that improve their experience How To Encourage Your Kids To Brush Their Teeth.
Anyway, I was interested to see that he’s now wearing a brace on his teeth and he explained that he had originally worn one as a child, but his teeth have since moved back to their original position as he didn’t wear a retainer, which is now recommended as a long-term fix.
This got us on to the importance of having a great smile, not least how it can affect confidence as children become self-conscious teens then adults.
This reminded me of a very good documentary the BBC made a couple of years ago called ‘The Truth About Teeth Part 1’ https://youtu.be/7NZGQZXaKRc
A few minutes in there is an interesting experiment. They show a photograph of a smiling lady with perfect Hollywood teeth to the general public in a town, asking individuals to score her on how approachable they thought she looked, how likely it was that she’d gone to university, was successful, happy in a relationship etc. In scores out of 5, almost everyone scored her 5 out of 5 for everything.
Then, they modified the photograph, changing nothing except the appearance of her teeth, making them slightly less straight and a bit less white. They asked the public to score this picture in exactly the same way and found people tended to score her 3 out of 5, or even less, and made comments like “she looks really quite unfriendly” and “I don’t think she looks after herself”.
We may not want to hear this, but the truth is we are always judged on our appearance. And it would seem that the state of our teeth plays a huge part in this.
Baby teeth are the foundation of an adult smile. So it is important to instil good oral hygiene habits in our children from an early age. And for those who resist, understanding why and taking steps to help them overcome any reluctance might make all the difference.
Which adds a slightly different context to a lovely saying I heard recently: “Children learn to smile from their parents”