First impressions count – making your smile an asset

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Research confirms what we all instinctively know – first impressions count.

Whether it’s a social gathering, a first date or a job interview, it’s human nature to make snap judgments when we first meet people.  Most of us make our initial assessment of others in the first 5 to 6 seconds to form first impression.

What are the factors taken into account in those first few seconds?

Psychologists from the Universities of Glasgow, Scotland and Princeton, US, went a step further.  They demonstrated that most people will draw conclusions about personality type from the first simple ‘hello’, basing their assessment on the speech tones and modulation.

Face-to-face we are remarkably consistent about what we consider when forming an opinion of others – and facial features are key.  Certain physical features universally mean certain things – large eyes are associated with attractiveness, masculine facial features with social dominance and a big smile with approachability.

These attributes certainly come into play in a 21st-century world where many of us now ‘meet’ online – whether via photos posted on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn or when using video chat apps such as Skype.

According to a survey conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (2013) 48% of adults think an attractive smile is most memorable in forming first impressions. The spoken word was most memorable to only 25% of adult respondents.  Clothing was further down the list with 9%.  Importantly these results are similar across demographics since 52% of adults older than 50 and 45% of the 18-49 respondents were most likely to remember an attractive smile after they’re introduced to someone for the first time.

Respondents also rated people less favourably if they had crooked, stained or missing teeth.

Much further down the list were attributes such as hair colour, shoes and accents.

So there’s no doubt your smile plays a large part in the ‘first impressions’ window of opportunity and, whatever the occasion, you should make sure yours speaks volumes about you, your outlook – and your health.

Oral health

How healthy your mouth is, is directly related to your overall general health.  Studies show that poor oral health has been linked to a number of health conditions including cancer of the bowel, breast, mouth and pancreas, dementia, diabetes, endocarditis, erectile dysfunction, pneumonia, psoriasis and stroke, as well as pregnancy complications.

So, taking time to care for your oral health with daily teeth brushing and interdental cleaning is essential, not only to look good but to stay healthy, too.

Ensuring good nutrition and hydration is also part of that dental care regime while reducing – or cutting out altogether – sugary snacks and acidic food can help to avoid dental caries and tooth erosion, keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top condition.

The benefits if great teeth

Recently, a survey carried out on behalf of the British Dental Association in the UK showed that 77% of us think that awful tooth decay and bad breath are massive disadvantages for anyone looking to climb the career ladder, with 62% of those polled believing that job applicants with visibly decayed teeth, missing teeth or bad breath would be at a disadvantage securing any role.

In a review of online profiles for dating websites, showing good teeth while smiling was a must for a successful profile, while another experiment showed that men rated the attractiveness of women more highly when shown photos of them smiling.

Smiling can also have a positive effect on your well being. Neurotransmitters called endorphins – otherwise known as the ‘happiness hormone’ – are released when we smile, making us feel happier.  At the same time the stress hormone, cortisol, is reduced.  So smiling not only makes us appear more approachable, it can improve our sense of well being, and because smiling is contagious, it can make others around us feel a whole lot better too! Smiling is all positive.

One of the really good innovations in dentistry is that with digital imaging you can see how your smile could look before even sitting in the dental chair.  To arrange a consultation with one of our expert smile makeover dentists call or email now.