Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to deal with office politics, watercooler gossip, hidden agendas and social biases when we went into the office? In an ideal world, we’d do our job – really well – and promotions would be given to the most deserving and qualified person. No, you’re quite right. This utopia does not exist, and instead, you are reading an article about how having great teeth can get you promoted.
The fact is, you are far more than what you know. As an employee, you are a whole package which includes your experience, your skills, your personality and of course, how you present yourself. And unsurprisingly, the state of your teeth plays a starring role.
We can rail against the injustice of this, or we can accept that modern life is built around perception, smoke and mirrors, and then learn the rules.
While we can’t help you to navigate office politics, we can give you a leg up when it comes to building the right perception of yourself. And that starts with your teeth.
If we were to interview senior managers and ask them why they promoted Candidate A over Candidate B, it’s likely that they would list hard facts like years of experience or specialist skills. However, it’s more likely that the winning candidate had better teeth.
Don’t believe us? Consider a study conducted by Kelton which has this to say: “These thoughts (regarding straight teeth) also extend to perceptions regarding an individual’s potential for professional and financial success. When looking at images, Americans perceive those with straight teeth to be 45% more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a job when competing with someone who has a similar skill set and experience. They are also seen as 58% more likely to be successful, as well as 58% more likely to be wealthy.”
These results indicate that subconscious decisions are being made on a person’s career, not all of which are based on their actual suitability for the job. Ask yourself: Has someone been promoted over me who may not be as skilled as I am? There may be other factors at play.
While we’re exploring subconscious decisions, let’s consider some deeper issues which may impact your career success. It’s not just crooked teeth which send out bad vibes – the same can be said for missing, dull or yellowing teeth.
There appears to be an inextricable link between your overall health and the state of your mouth. Therefore, a poorly maintained set of teeth tells others that you are generally unhygienic and unhealthy, whether that fact is true or not. To continue this point, The British Dental Journal referenced a pretty damning report which said, “The study found that participants gave the faces with discoloured teeth poorer ratings for social competence (how popular, friendly or trustworthy they appeared), intellectual ability, relationship status and psychological adjustment (how introverted, happy or self-confident they appeared). Whiter teeth also received more positive appraisals, suggesting that tooth colour does have an influence on social perceptions.”
Hold on a second. Are we really saying that discoloured teeth equal an impaired intellectual ability? Apparently so! Our intelligence, trustworthiness and self-confidence are all key factors dictating our career success, but these are being eroded by something as seemingly superficial as the colour of our teeth.
The knock-on effect of bad teeth is obvious: we smile less. We don’t need University studies to tell us that people who smile more are more likeable, more approachable, confident and positive. Would these attributes benefit you in your plan for world domination?
Perhaps your teeth aren’t picture perfect, but you still smile… behind your hand. What does this say about you? Timid? Reticent? Reserved? Can you feel that promotion slipping away?
No, it’s not fair that the wrong colour teeth result in you being benched when the next promotions roll around. But it is a fact of life. However, the great news is that great teeth can be yours so easily, and discoloured or crooked teeth can be fixed super-fast, allowing you to get on with your life and get that promotion. Which road will you choose?