Half the nation don’t like their smile, with many believing the state of their teeth has held them back at work and in their personal lives, it has emerged.
Researchers who carried out a detailed study found a large percentage of the population are so self-conscious about their teeth that it affects them on an almost daily basis.
Teeth also came third in a list of the things in life we stress most about – with only finances and relationships ranked more highly.
In fact, one in five felt their teeth had more of a negative effect on their confidence than their physique, hair or wrinkles.
It also emerged 61 per cent of the 2,000 adults who took part in the study have been affected by ‘Posh Spice Syndrome’ – being wrongly considered ‘miserable’ because they don’t smile very often.
Dr Aalok Shukla, CEO and co-founder of on-demand teledentistry Straight Teeth Direct, which commissioned the study, said:
Smiling is the most natural thing in the world. It’s an important way to communicate across boundaries and languages.
Consciously not smiling for fear of revealing your teeth can trigger a negative cycle comprising of feelings of anxiety, lack of confidence and low self-esteem.
By connecting orthodontists to users directly through digital technology a positive cycle can be created meaning more people can finally straighten their teeth, smile freely and feel their best.
According to the study, 17 per cent of those who took part have concerns that the appearance of their smile has had a negative impact on their career.
Furthermore, one in 10 went as far as to claim they have been turned down for a job due to their problematic teeth.
A similar number felt they were reluctant to smile in meetings or when meeting new people amid fears they will be judged on the state of their teeth.
Over a quarter admitted they avoid smiling as much as they possibly can, with 45 per cent citing they don’t feel comfortable posting pictures of themselves grinning on social media.
The data shows those with stained, crooked or missing teeth are most likely to feel less confident.
According to the report, one in five of those polled said feeling this way had impacted their ability to make friends, because they are wrongly perceived as ‘miserable’ or ‘rude’.
Forty six per cent have been told to smile more often, while 16 per cent have received negative comments about their smile or the way their teeth look.
The study found more than a quarter have paid for procedures to improve their smile – spending £692.91 on average in the process.
And one in 10 said they had used an app to make their teeth look whiter and brighter in photographs.
Lucie Marchelot Shukla, co-founder of Straight Teeth Direct, said:
We promise to make you smile with professional orthodontics from the comfort of your home at a fraction of the cost and time via the click of a button, with the world’s first teeth straightening mobile app.
With every step guaranteed, we’re making teeth straightening as easy and hassle free as possible, without ever having to schedule an appointment or take time off work to travel to a clinic.
Our labs make your invisible braces that you simply pop into your mouth – with new ones to change every few weeks.
Treatment times usually vary between five-nine months, and you’ll start seeing results in as little as 90 days, meaning it’s easier than ever to get the smile you’ve dreamed of.
Hope Bastine, a health and well-being psychologist, suggests the following tips for boosting self confidence this January: list your strengths and accomplishments, commit random acts of kindness, go with your gut instinct more often, try a change of wardrobe and get yourself some fresh clothes, try to smile more, and get more sleep – sleep deprivation can have detrimental effects on your mind, body and brain.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.