Did you know that thirty percent of people hide their smile in photographs? For many, self-consciousness in one’s appearance can hinder business growth. So here’s a look at no-nonsense self-care tips you need so you can smile with confidence and thrive in life and business.
Your smile matters.
Whether you’re the face of a new B2C business, pitching investors, or working directly with clients, it’s important to put your best smile forward.
What you may not know is that your oral health can have a profound impact on your professional, social, and family relationships.
For entrepreneurs who want to build a confident personal brand image build along with connections that support success, it’s even more vital to maintain your oral health and the positive appearance that goes with it.
An independent study conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) found that “virtually all Americans (99.7%) believe a smile is an important social asset” and that “three-quarters (74%) of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s chances for career success.”
If you’re not happy with your smile or another aspect of your oral health, you’re more likely to cover your mouth, maintain an unsmiling expression, or smile without showing your teeth. In fact, more than 30% of people hide their smiles in photographs.
In the AACD study, participants were asked, “What types of things do you consider make a smile unattractive?” The most common responses were:
- Discolored, yellow, or stained teeth
- Missing teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Decaying teeth and cavities
- Gaps and spaces in teeth
- Dirty teeth
Additionally, gingivitis and other periodontal diseases that create bad breath can put physical distance between you and others, as you try to keep people from catching an unpleasant whiff.
Your posture, the way you face––or don’t face––people, your social ease; all are impacted by how you feel about your mouth.
You Can’t Afford To Ignore Your Smile
The catch-22 for many entrepreneurs, however, is a singular focus on business––especially in those early startup years––and less attention paid to self-care. Personal care routinely falls by the wayside. Yet putting off dental care is a dangerous gamble with your health that you can’t afford for a several reasons:
- Cancers – of the mouth and skin. Oral cancer is more common than leukemia, melanoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and cancers of the brain, liver, thyroid gland, stomach, ovaries, and cervix.
- Stress – Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw can result in erosion of your tooth enamel, chipped teeth, bone loss, and receding gums.
- Enamel loss – Fully eroded tooth enamel can’t be replaced or rebuilt, leaving teeth more vulnerable to decay and cavities.
- Cavities and tooth decay – Untreated cavities and tooth decay can escalate quickly. If infection develops, it can spread to other areas of the body, including the brain.
- Periodontal (gum) disease – Bacteria under your gums can get into your blood and spread disease and infection throughout your body. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease and diabetes.
Invest in your smile and your brand
A regular dental checkup and cleaning can take an hour out of your day, but the examination and cleaning are critically important to determine whether you have underlying health issues that need attention. Cleaning is also important before undertaking any kind of enhancements.
Getting a smile “makeover” doesn’t necessarily have to take a long time or a large budget. Much depends on your particular concerns. Below are a few ways dentists address some of the most common smile stoppers:
Discolored or stained teeth are one of the fastest and easiest dental issues to “fix.” A dentist can use stronger bleaching solutions than what’s available over-the-counter and even combine a strong solution with laser treatment for fast, dramatic whitening.
It takes two visits and about a month to repair a lifetime of damage with veneers: lengthen teeth; cover chips, cracks, and discoloration; and even improve the look of twisted and crooked teeth without the time required for braces.
If you’ve lost a tooth, you can have a temporary appliance created within a few days to complete your smile and “hold the gap” while you wait for a longer-term solution. Invisible braces, implants, and full reconstruction take longer and require a heftier financial commitment, but most dentists will work with you to devise a plan to cover this type of work.
As the AACD study concluded, “a new smile will make you appear more intelligent, interesting, successful and wealthy to others.” Think of your smile as an investment in your future success.
Dr. Charles Sutera, FAGD, is a nationally-known expert witness for dental issues, author and advocate for powering dental aesthetics through good health.
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