“Why do you want her to brush her teeth?” I asked.
“Because I want them to be healthy”, she said.
As a mother, I would have answered exactly the same way, but I have since read about research on the benefits of having white teeth and there is more to it.
Parents want the best for their kids. We all know how important it is to brush our teeth in the morning and in the evening in order to keep germs away and avoid cavities and pain, not to mention large dental bills. But did you know that having white teeth can do a lot not just for your kids’ health, but also for their psychology and their level of success in life?
Well, when people smile, showing a full set of white teeth, it can be seen up to 200 meters. Whether we like the idea or not, people associate white teeth with success. I would want my kids to know that, together with the health benefits of taking care of your teeth.
Research done in 2007 on the impact of whiter teeth on job acquisition and relationships found that people who have whiter teeth have an advantage at finding both jobs and love. In the experiment, most of the participants thought that a person’s appearance was an indicator of their success. Participants thought that people who looked good were more trustworthy, more professional and more successful financially.
According to this research:
- 68% of people consider personal appearance an indication of professional success
- 64% see personal appearance as an indication of financial success
- 52% believe that personal appearance is an indication of being trustworthy
The researcher wanted to know if teeth whitening had an impact on applicants’ success at job interviews. All the participants went through two separate interviews and used a home whitening product between their first and the second interview. Each interview was conducted by a different person.
Another study about first impressions sent participants on first dates before and after whitening their teeth and interviewed their partners. After whitening their teeth, 59% were viewed as more outgoing and 54% were more likely to go on another date with the same partner and perhaps have a relationship.
When I read about this research, I wondered whether having white teeth makes people behave differently or people just view it that way. Then I decided that either way, it definitely gives you an advantage.
Although having white teeth has nothing to do with having clean teeth, neglected teeth with holes or fillings and teeth with cigarette, coffee and/or red wine stains can get in the way of our success in life.
So now, when you see someone with teeth stained in yellow, brown or black, you can point them out to your kids and say, “See this person? It’s a lot harder for them to find a job or a date because”, because now you can back this up with research results. If you want your kids to be viewed as being more confident, besides explaining the health benefits of brushing their teeth and going for regular dentist checkups, tell them the psychological and financial benefits of being perceived as trustworthy and successful.
I wonder if our kids measure our success and trustworthiness by looking at our teeth too. Just in case, I think I will brush my teeth three times today…
I believe that people perceive themselves and others based on looks and smiles, but:
- The study mentioned above was funded for the company that makes the whitening strips and was based on simulated interviews and dates.
- I get absolutely nothing from them (would have been nice, but no).
- Whitening your teeth involves chemicals that oxidize your teeth and may weaken them a tiny bit at a time, so please use common sense and professional advice before doing it.
- Personally, I would avoid whitening kids’ teeth. I would just encourage them to clean well.