We’ve all heard that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but the truth is we sometimes make quick judgments about people based on appearance.
One of the first things we see when meeting someone is their smile, and research shows that owning a pleasing smile can significantly influence a person’s life – from their self-esteem to job prospects and even romance.
“A smile is the gateway to your personality, and it also creates an immediate and often lasting perception,” says Steven J. Moravec, an orthodontist and author of Going The Extra Smile: Merging Technology And Expertise For A Lifetime Of Smiles.
“One of the most universal biases is toward pleasant-looking people. Those who smile easily and confidently are often perceived as happier, smarter, and healthier than those with misaligned teeth, who aren’t as comfortable smiling.”
Moravec says there are a number of ways having a consistent smile can improve a person’s life, including:
- A boost in self-confidence. “Straight teeth are the physical foundation for a smile, which brings confidence personally and professionally,” Moravec says. An Invisalign-Harris Poll survey found 92 percent of adults who straightened their teeth said doing so had been good for their confidence. “Smiling also elevates your mood with the release of endorphins in your brain and creates an overall sense of well-being,” Moravec says.
- Economic benefits. Crooked teeth can be a disadvantage when competing for a job with someone whose smile reveals straight teeth. Most Americans believe the latter person is more likely to get that job even if the skill sets and experience levels are similar. “Your smile is an investment that will increase in value through the years,” Moravec says.
- Enhanced social life. When it comes to attracting a possible mate on a dating site, those with a nice smile and straight teeth are seen as more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a date based on their picture. “Whether a person’s smile and teeth are straight or crooked can have a significant impact on his or her romantic success,” Moravec says. “Teeth play a major role in attractiveness, which also implies good hygiene, personal pride, and by extension a more together person.”
- Overall health improvement. “Straight teeth are easier to clean,” Moravec says. “You can keep tartar at bay and prevent cavities easier than if you are dealing with overlapping teeth or wide gaps. And because you can control tartar better, this is huge for overall health, because then you can prevent gym or periodontal disease, which has been linked with heart disease, strokes and other chronic conditions.” Also, Moravec notes that realigned teeth and a repositioned bite can help people who have sleep apnea.
“We often take our smile for granted,” Moravec says. “But it’s a gift that leads to many good things in life.”
About Steven J. Moravec, DDS, MS, MA
Steven J. Moravec is the owner of Moravec Orthodontics and the author of Going The Extra Smile: Merging Technology And Expertise For A Lifetime Of Smiles. He graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and earned an MS in Orthodontics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He’s a state-licensed Specialist in Orthodontics and a guest lecturer for the University of Illinois Department of Orthodontics and SureSmile.