Sometimes we forget how much we reveal about ourselves when we smile. Not only do we communicate happiness or sociability, but we also convey a lot about our way of living.
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To some extent, our teeth function as a business card. They can indicate social status, hygiene habits or health conditions. For instance, we tend to associate a pearl white Hollywood smile with wealth, care, and health. Yet, our teeth expose even more information about us like age, gender or personality. They can also exhibit certain personality traits and significantly impact our overall impression.
The physiology of our teeth reveals our “dental identity.” While the central incisors of young people have rounded corners, the same teeth are rather square and short in older persons. Furthermore, the lateral incisors of women are rounded at the end and a little shorter than the central incisors, whereas men’s lateral incisors are longer and more square. Interestingly enough, your canines can tell somebody whether you have an aggressive, passive or pushover personality, depending on their shape.
Moreover, your habits literally leave their mark on your teeth. Teeth grinding, for example, is usually a symptom of feelings of stress, anxiety or anger. It can also be an indicator of a very aggressive or competitive personality. Stress-inducing habits like excessive smoking, caffeine intake, and alcohol consumption can intensify teeth grinding. Chronic teeth grinding can lead to fracturing, loosening or even loss of teeth. Other complications include headaches, jaw pain, hearing loss, and temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
The color of our teeth has a big impact on our perceived attractiveness. Bright, white teeth make us look more successful, more employable, and more appealing. A study conducted by oral hygiene company Oral-B found that white teeth can make you appear five years younger and increase your attractiveness by 20 percent. If you want to prevent yellow, stained teeth avoid foods like coffee, wine, tea, cola, candy, and berries. Additionally, use a straw if you do drink teeth-staining beverages, rinse your mouth later, and brush your teeth 30-60 minutes afterwards.
The importance of straight, white, and healthy teeth in our society is also reflected in the high cost of dental procedures in this country. A single root canal can set you back $1,000, braces cost about $5,000 and veneers can even amount to $10,000 to $30,000 per set. However, when it comes to your teeth, the old dictum “prevention is better than cure” is key. The more care you take of your teeth now, the less you will have to shell out for a stunning smile in the future.