self esteem

Why We Donate to Victory House, Gold Coast

The importance of teeth to self esteem

Did you know that ill-fitting dentures– or worse, no teeth at all–can have far greater implications than restrictions on what you can or can’t eat?  At Northern Rivers Denture Clinic, we witness every day, the link between having good teeth and positive self esteem. Like it or not, judgments based on facial appearance play a powerful role in how we treat others, and how we get treated.

Firstly, there is the impact a restricted diet regime has on a person. The inability to partake of favourite foods like steak or nuts or even the inability to bite into an apple, diminishes everyday enjoyment. It The sufferer may see it as a deficiency.  Another activity a person already vulnerable because of age, illness or dire circumstances like homelessness, cannot be part of. It has a marginalising effect setting them apart from what they perceive as “normal”.

Secondly, though no less important, is the effect having no teeth or a poorly fitting denture can have on a person’s appearance. Large gaps due to loss of teeth can cause the collapse of a person’s face. Compounded by ageing, wrinkles and folds appear and the structure of the face sags resulting in a negative change in the person’s appearance.

A devastating impact on self-image causing a loss of confidence follows, contributing to withdrawal from social activities and even depression. Psychologists have long known that attractive people get better outcomes in practically all walks of life. People with “mature” faces are judged more harshly than “youthful looking” people. In a youth driven society, imagine how a younger person may feel being perceived as much older than they are because they have missing, or no teeth.

Personal appearance is an important signifier of status. Poverty, mental illness and homelessness sends people on a downward spiral. Poor dental appearance feeds into the negative stereotype we all harbour of people down on their luck. The implications of this do not bode well for employment which is essential if they are to rise out of their desperate situations.

First appearances are crucial

Everyone loves a beautiful smile. A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face. This is why employers emphasise good personal presentation when it comes to their employees. Business relies on it. Feeling good about the way you look contributes to self-confidence. Because employees reflect the business brand, the most sought after by employers are people with confident capable attitudes, those worthy of representing the business. Grooming and a cared for appearance speak volumes about the employee and the business they represent long before they get to demonstrate their ability.

Being unemployed hints at something much larger

Being treated as a second class citizen, wears a person down. They begin to believe they are not deserving of any better. Research has shown that this can exacerbate feelings of unworthiness and even depressive illness.

Changing how we look can change much more than just appearances

Northern Rivers Denture Clinic sees firsthand what a difference having a good set of teeth can make. Nothing is quite as satisfying as holding up a mirror for a patient to see their new face for the first time. The transformation is often quite miraculous, bearing no resemblance to the old image, nor the patient’s old sense of self. The look of wonder and delight, especially in those whose self-image has been damaged, is priceless. Their newly found confidence blooms before our eyes.

This is why we donate two dentures every year to Victory House. We believe their rehabilitation work with those suffering addiction, mental illness and often subsequent homelessness is complemented by Northern Rivers Denture Clinic’s commitment to helping the neediest by giving them a beautiful smile and all that it entails.

References: Psychological ScienceVictory House

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