Many of us have suspected that confidence helps in the romance department. It turns out that the science proves what we all suspect: A 2016 article from European Psychologist looked at several studies correlating self-esteem, confidence, and romantic relationships. Their main finding? That high self-esteem is, in fact, beneficial in romantic relationships.
And as cliche as it is to say: If you want to feel confident in your relationships, romantic or not, you must first feel confident with yourself.
There is also a lot of evidence that your dental well-being affects your confidence, too. A large study looking at adolescents, for example, found that dental disorders (like malocclusion, tooth loss, and untreated decay) caused a profound impact on the self-esteem of teenagers.
And don’t think that this anxiety goes away with adulthood. Some 38% of millennial-age adults report that their life in general was “less satisfying” due to teeth and mouth problems. In short, dental health (or the lack of it) has a profound impact on our self-esteem, which affects our confidence, which can in turn impact our life and our relationships.
So, if you’re looking for that little boost of confidence before you take on Valentine’s day, consider treating yourself to a healthy dose of fresh confidence, courtesy of your dentist.
Here are some of the easier things you can try:
Teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic procedures provided by dentists. In just a few visits, patients can see a noticeable difference in the brightness of their teeth. Whiter teeth can make a person more confident and ready to show off their smile to the world.
Many people also try at-home teeth whitening kits instead of trying to make an appointment with the dentist. These can work, but only if they are used exactly as the directions say. On average, they change the whiteness of teeth by a shade or two; if you want better results than this, you will need the advanced procedures that a professional dentist can provide.
Sometimes a full teeth whitening is not needed; a simple teeth cleaning might be enough to remove stains and freshen your breath. Both procedures can make you feel more confident in your smile, but a cleaning might be a more time- and budget-friendly way to go. Plus, you have the added benefit of stopping tooth decay in its tracks.
Straightening Crooked Teeth (Invisalign)
OK, so moving teeth around and setting your jaw is not something you can get done in time for this year’s Valentine’s Day date. But it is something you can look into so that, when this day rolls around next year, your smile will be that much better.
Many adults report that using a teeth straightening system like Invisalign to fix problems like gaps and overcrowding actually gives them more confidence in their daily lives. Many adults will get Invisalign when they know they will be getting married or going on job interviews in the coming year.
Patients like Invisalign because it is not as noticeable as braces, and it is removable. There is no need to see an orthodontist, as it is available at many dental practices.
One Piece of Advice: Watch the Treats
Whether or not you’ve got dental work, or have plans to do so, be careful when it comes to those treas. According to retro candy maker Groovy Candies, Americans will purchase roughly 58 million pounds of chocolate in preparation for Valentine’s Day, and will purchase something on the order of 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate.
So yeah, we know you’re going to enjoy a treat one way or another. That’s OK: It’s fine, even healthy, to indulge in a treat sometimes! But be smart about it, especially if you have dental work.
For example, try to opt for plain chocolate over chewy caramel or nuts. Plain chocolate rinses off the teeth easier. When candy stays on the teeth, the sugars have a better chance of taking hold and causing tooth decay. Caramel or nougat can stick on or between teeth for a long time. The same goes for lollipops or hard candies. They are in the mouth for a while instead of being swallowed right away.
Sticky, chewy treats or things with nuts can also wreak havoc on dental work. Fillings and crowns can crack or come loose. Sealants, braces, and implants can be damaged too. It’s best to exercise caution when eating candy and other sweets.
Another way to help reduce the harm caused by Valentine’s Day goodies is to eat them along with a meal. Brush and floss twice a day to be sure to clean away anything the treats leave behind. And always drink plenty of water, which can rinse away a lot of bacteria from food and drinks.