Is Your Smile Keeping You From Employed?

Have you ever just met someone and when they smiled you cringed? I’m guilty-I just expect people to take care of their teeth and I make judgements based on the condition of your teeth! Come to find out, I’m not the only one.

Take the example of Patty Kennedy; with 5 broken teeth, three cavities and a painful gum disease, she knew her job prospects were not bright:

“But like many of the more than 2,200 people who showed up for the 5:30 a.m. clinic on May 18 and 19, Kennedy knew that bad teeth translate into poor employment prospects, even for the best workers.”

“I really don’t smile a lot,” said Kennedy, whose husband, Lucas, also 53, lost his job five years ago when California’s construction economy tanked. “I know that when you have a job, you want to have a pleasant attitude and you’ve got to smile and be friendly.”

Provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which take effect in 2014, guarantee dental care for children, but not for adults. And without such care, adults already struggling to get by find that obvious dental problems—teeth that are missing, discolored, broken or badly crooked—make their situation even harder, said Susan Hyde, a dentist and population scientist at the University of California at San Francisco.

In America, most people—including employers—make instant judgments based on appearance, including someone’s smile and teeth.

“If you want to portray someone as being wicked, they have missing front teeth. If they’re ignorant, they have buck teeth,” Hyde said. “Even from a very early age, we associate how one presents their oral health with all kinds of biases that reflect some of the social biases that we have.”

The article goes on to say that there is some hope for individuals that need dental work thanks to free clinics but doesn’t it make sense to have some system in place that would allow affordable dental care to folks instead of having them on public assistance?

What do you think are you a little biased when you see someone with a bad smile?

Read the entire study here:

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