Four ways your smile could be holding back your career (and what to do about it)

Do you have a megawatt smile? Or are you worried that your dental hygiene and teeth could do with some improvement? Discover four ways your smile could be holding back your career (and what to do about it).

What’s the first thing you do when you walk into an interview, a meeting or even just the office? You meet your colleagues, managers or clients with a smile.

So if you’re meeting people for the first time, your smile could well be the first impression they get of you. 

While a beautiful smile can make you appear friendly and well-groomed, if your teeth have seen better days, smiling can have the same effect as if you’d turned up for work in your pyjamas.

Four ways your smile could be holding back your career

So just how can poor teeth or dental hygiene hold back your career? Here are four ways you may be at a disadvantage if you aren’t happy with your smile.

1) You’ll hide your smile

If your job involves meeting people, having a warm, friendly smile ready is vital. Smiling makes you more approachable — the more you smile, the more comfortable colleagues will feel coming to you, whether it be for help, advice or just a friendly chat. 

But if you’re not happy with the way your teeth look, you might not have the confidence to smile. Or you could hide your mouth when you smile, making you look timid, or as if you (literally) have something to hide. Neither of which is great for a first professional impression!

As a result, clients may not feel comfortable trusting you with their business, or feel they’re not getting great customer service from you. And colleagues might not be comfortable approaching you.

2) You might lack self-confidence

Feeling unhappy with your appearance can understandably take its toll on your confidence levels. Networking opportunities and social events can feel daunting, and you might be reluctant to talk to people for fear of exposing your smile. 

A lack of confidence can also interfere with your performance in the workplace. Rather than strolling into meetings and leading with a confident smile, you might appear shy or unsure of yourself. 

But if you’re hoping to climb the ladder and strive for success, confidence is key. With confidence, you’ll persuade others that you believe in yourself, and you’ll persuade them to believe in you too. 

3) Tooth decay can signal poor personal care

Tooth decay can happen for a number of reasons, but people will often assume that it’s a result of poor dental hygiene. And the last thing you want is your colleagues and clients thinking that you don’t know how to take care of yourself.

You want to show that you’re not just in control of your professional projects but also your self-care; this way, you’ll look and feel more put-together. 

So if your teeth aren’t looking particularly white, or some are cracked or missing, you may inadvertently be signalling to people that you either are unaware of, or don’t care about your personal health.

4) Bad breath can scare people away

Bad dental hygiene can lead to bad breath, and bad breath can lead to awkward social encounters.

No one wants to broach uncomfortable topics like bad breath, so rather than be honest with you so you can address the situation, you may find people avoiding you.

Your colleagues might lean away as you talk to them or even try to avoid working with you altogether, which can be hurtful and embarrassing. And clients and customers may choose not to work with or buy from you – even switching businesses in some drastic cases – to avoid coming into contact with you.

Often, professional success is a result of how well you interact with your colleagues and managers, so the last thing you want to do is drive a wedge between you and others with bad breath. 

How to make your smile the secret of your success

While bad teeth and dental hygiene can negatively affect your professional appearance, there are actions you can take to fix any areas you wish, and instead make your wide, healthy smile the secret of your success.

1) Work out why you’re unhappy with your teeth

Before you can transform your smile, you need to pinpoint what it is about your teeth that you don’t like. Are they not white enough? Are they a little crooked? Perhaps you’re even missing a tooth or two?

There are many reasons why you might not like the appearance of your teeth, but the good news is there are solutions for almost every dental issue. 

2) Find out what’s causing any dental issues

A trip to the dentist can help you determine what’s actually causing any dental problems you might have. Your dentist can assess whether it’s your hygiene, diet or a structural issue that’s stopping your teeth from looking their best.

Once you’ve identified the reason behind any dental issues, your dentist can walk you through your different treatment options. 

3) Consider a smile makeover

Once your dentist has outlined your treatment options, it’s up to you to decide whether you want treatment.

Your dentist might have suggested anything from Invisalign and professional teeth whitening to dental implants. Any of these treatments can give your smile the makeover it deserves, and with your new and improved teeth, you’re bound to impress everyone at work. 

4) Stay on top of dental hygiene

Once your dentist has taken a look at your teeth, and you’ve possibly undergone treatment, make sure you stay on top of your dental hygiene. Brush regularly and perfect your brushing technique. Don’t forget to floss and book regular hygienist appointments. 

Looking after your teeth means you’re less likely to experience tooth decay and discolouring. This will also help to lengthen the life span of any dental treatments you’ve had, such as tooth whitening or dental implants. 

5) Use a mouthwash before heading to work

The last step to get your smile ready for professional success is mouthwash. Antibacterial mouthwash prevents tooth decay and protects your teeth all day long. It also keeps your breath smelling fresh, so you won’t have to worry about offending any colleagues or customers. 

Blue Light Dental is a friendly dental clinic in London. They specialise in cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics. Contact them to arrange a smile makeover.

Photo by Allef Vinicius