Despite a reputation for poor oral health, 55% of adults in the United Kingdom are highly positive about their smile, while 18% displayed an even greater love for it, according to a poll by the Oral Health Foundation (OHF). The results also showed a strong connection between people believing they have good oral health and feeling confident about their smile.
In most cases, those who said they liked their smile deemed themselves as having good oral health, while those who said they love their smile believed they have excellent oral health. Similarly, those who said they do not like their smile consider themselves to have poorer oral health.
“Many people view good oral health as an important factor in their overall appearance, and in most cases, the health of the mouth can play a significant role in a person’s confidence to smile,” said Dr. Nigel Carter, OBE, chief executive of the OHF. “This is most likely because a healthy smile often translates to an attractive smile, and this will make a person feel better about themselves.”
Men are more likely to like their smile (80%) than women (67%), while those between 25 and 34 years old are the most self-confident when it comes to their smile. The residents of Oxford are most confident in their smile, with 86% having a positive opinion. Those in Aberdeen are least confident, with only 47% having a positive opinion.
“Poor gum health, crooked teeth, stained teeth, and missing teeth are some of the problems that can prevent people from smiling with confidence. Low self-esteem and lack of confidence can cause a person to become withdrawn and depressed as they may feel uncomfortable smiling, talking, eating in public, and meeting new people,” said Carter.
“Emotional problems can cause eating disorders to develop, and both bulimia and anorexia can lead to dental problems such as erosion that may need cosmetic dentistry to rectify. The stress that causes people to overeat can also contribute to the neglect of oral care, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay and the loss of an attractive smile,” said Carter.
The OHF conducted the survey as part of its National Smile Month campaign, which aims to promote the importance of good oral health while communicating the value of a healthy smile. For example, the OHF says, good oral health can help prevent or manage wider health problems such as heart disease, premature births, and respiratory disease.