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How your dental health can affect your job prospects

Dental hygiene can create confidence and win trust from potential employers

What's in a smile?

More importantly, just how much does the condition of our teeth affect our employment prospects?

According to a survey by UK dental clinic PlusDent, which surveyed over 5,000 human resource professionals worldwide, there is a pretty big link between the two.

The findings showed that our dental hygiene has a greater impact on whether we would get hired for a job than we might realise.

A smile can take you places

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 candidates who are afraid to smile because their teeth aren't in the best condition may in turn find it harder to find employment.

This can become a cycle trapping them in, as without a job, it would be difficult for them to afford the necessary dental treatments.

Rise in cosmetic dental work in Singapore

With this in mind, it is no wonder that cosmetic dental work is becoming increasingly popular.

Dr Lydia Yong from Align Braces Clinic said 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."

She added: "Working adults are usually driven by recent improvements in the aesthetic options for orthodontic appliances, which are much less visible than traditional metal 'train track' braces, allowing adults to gradually improve their smile without drawing unwanted attention to their teeth."

Dr Enrica Sham from TLC Dental Centre explained 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 say that orthodontic 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 cautioned 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."

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How to take better care of your teeth

Dr Yong and Dr Sham recommend regular maintenance, which includes a dental check-up 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.

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.

Dr Sham said: "While over-the-counter tooth whitening kits are cheaper than professional whitening, the use of such kits is either ineffective or can potentially cause more harm to your teeth and gums as it is 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."

This article was first published in Cleo Singapore (