What’s in a smile? More importantly, just how much does our dental health and the condition of our teeth affect our employment prospects?

According to a survey by UK dental clinic PlusDent, which surveyed over 5,000 HR professionals worldwide, there’s a pretty big link between the two. The findings showed that our dental hygiene has greater impact on whether we would get hired for a job than we might realise.

A smile can take you places

It’s not a surprising revelation. According to the study, smiling is crucial to building trust during social interactions and there has been plenty of research on how a genuine smile is the easiest way to appear more attractive and more intelligent. As such, candidates who do not smile may be perceived as distant and nervous and might be deemed unsuitable for the company.

And if one is afraid to smile because their teeth aren’t in the best condition, they may in turn find it harder to find employment. This can become a cycle to be trapped in as, without a job, it’d be difficult for them to afford the necessary dental treatments.

The rise in cosmetic dental work in Singapore

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With this in mind, it is no wonder that cosmetic dental work is becoming increasingly popular. Dr Lydia Yong from Align Braces Clinic says there is growing demand for orthodontic treatment among both people in their late teens and working adults.

“My patients from tertiary institutions often share that they desire to have a presentable smile when they graduate, attend job interviews, and eventually join the workforce.”

“Working adults are usually driven by recent improvements in the aesthetic options for orthodontic appliances. Aesthetic orthodontic appliances are much less visible than traditional metal ‘train track’ braces, allowing adults to gradually improve their smile without drawing unwanted attention to their teeth,” she explains.

Dr Enrica Sham from TLC Dental Centre explains that a healthy smile with well-aligned teeth not only improves a person’s self-esteem, but also affects the way they are perceived. Both dentists share that orthodontic treatments and teeth whitening treatments are popular and that composite bonding, veneers, crowns and gum contouring are also treatments that are highly sought after.

Orthodontic treatments, generally done in the form of braces in conjunction with growth appliances if necessary, are popular as they treat the alignment of teeth and jaw to put teeth in a balanced position in relation to the face.
However, Dr Sham cautions that teeth whitening may not be for everyone.

“One should always consult a dentist before proceeding with
any form of teeth whitening treatment, even for home whitening, for a proper examination and diagnosis so that you can find out if you’re suitable for the treatment or if you should try out other options.”

How to take better care of your teeth

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Want to take better care of your dental health? Dr Yong and Dr Sham recommend regular maintenance, which includes a dental checkup every six months for scaling and polishing.

To prevent teeth from discolouring, consider avoiding dark coloured liquids such as coffee, tea, red wine, and foods with natural or added colourants such as soy sauce, ketchup and chocolate as they can add to surface staining and yellow undertones. 

You should naturally also maintain good oral hygiene.

“Floss and brush your teeth and gums with soft-bristled toothbrushes at a 45-degree angle. Gum disease can lead to receding gums and the appearance of long teeth or uneven gums. Tooth decay can present itself as permanent opaque white, yellow or brown spots on the teeth, or massive cavities that require complex restorations,” says Dr Yong.

And while it may be tempting to explore cheaper online alternatives over treatments at dental clinics, both doctors warn that you should do so with caution.

“While over the counter tooth whitening kits are cheaper than professional whitening, the use of such kits are either ineffective or can potentially cause more harm to your teeth and gums as these are done unsupervised.

Some of these whitening kits contain strong chemicals or abrasives, which can cause the wearing of tooth enamel, resulting in teeth sensitivity due to thinning. It may cost more to repair your damaged teeth than to go for a professional teeth whitening procedure in the first place,” says Dr Sham.

Text: Chia Sihan / CLEO