Teeth and the Social Perception

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Teeth and the Social Perception

            Teeth play a fundamental role in our outlook and how we are accepted at all levels, from social, political, cultural to professional settings. It’s the first thing noticed by a person one converses with and although a remarkable outlook isn’t one most certainly desired or expected by social standards, one which depicts poor oral health often tends to put one in bad books. It makes sense to equate one’s oral health to their general hygiene or grooming in the sense that if a person comes in for a job interview looking prim and proper, they’re more likely to put a better impression on the employer, rather than one who comes in in their office attire with hair unbrushed, nails untrimmed and the likes of it.

Although the social perception of teeth has largely evolved over time, with the population appreciating straight, white, clean teeth, it is directly linked to one’s identity as well now and bigger cultural, social, and biological trends. Class difference has also come out as an emerging pattern associated with good teeth, as crooked, misaligned teeth with visible dental decay is seen as an outcome of lack of motivation to render oneself to be on par. This widely perpetuates the link between dental outlook and oral health and their correlation being parallel to social success. It is possible that in settings as these, imperfect teeth might be attached to a general lack of responsibility and self-control which again lies outside of the conformity of fitness — something which is widely seen as an attractive trait.

People who do not fit into the notion of a good set of teeth might fall to the prejudice many employers have unknowingly. In multinational companies the employees are seen to represent the organization and their physical outlook is greatly emphasized on. It might not be a conversation made out loud but an expectation of sorts to look a certain way, presentable in all manners. And while some might disagree and argue one’s value in their workplace doesn’t lie solely on how they look, it must be identified as a factor which is a significant contributor in large firms or certain professions like those which include customer service, salesperson or nternational relations and law to name a few.

Numerous studies show stereotyping by one’s peers at adolescence with children being outcasted, leading to low self-esteem issues and social anxiety, which in later life translates into their professional setting and personality. Not just the mental repercussions but the systemic implications of dental disease are apparent, with diabetes and respiratory disease being on the upfront.

The patterns and general trends in the 21st century arising from social stigmas and perceptions have all narrowed down to a different world, a better perhaps. There’s no argument that oral and systemic health are interlinked, so societal conformity isn’t the only thing to consider here, but a general awareness of oral health as a whole and its importance in today’s world.