January 24 is National Compliment Day. This is the perfect reminder to give the people in your life a compliment. Research has shown that receiving a compliment can improve task performance, enhance social interaction, and bring about positivity in relationships. Which only raises the question: Why don’t we compliment each other more?
On the one hand, complimenting someone is hard. Though it takes little effort, compliments require that we engage with someone and open up to them. We become a little more vulnerable when we compliment. It can trigger some of our own insecurities.
Speaking of insecurities, National Today, which comments on cultural celebrations like National Compliment Day, points out that many people are actually embarrassed by compliments. Insecurities and a lack of self-esteem can make us feel, unconsciously, as if we do not deserve the compliment. Compliments also draw attention to the complimented, and that can be very uncomfortable if we are feeling shy or insecure.
Amazingly, a lot of our insecurities have to do with our appearance, and a number of people dislike the way that they smile. In fact, one of the most common complaints people have about their own appearance has to do with their mouth, teeth, and/or smile. On the other hand, scientific studies have shown a link between self-esteem and oral health.
In other words, confidence is needed both to give and to receive a compliment. We’re much more likely to do both if we’re happy with the way we look, especially with the way we look when we smile. Luckily, there are some things we can do about this.
Dazzling White Teeth
Whiter teeth are at the top of the wish list for many people, especially on National Compliment Day. Dingy, yellow teeth are a common problem with a wide range of solutions. Budget-conscious patients can find inexpensive over-the-counter whitening products. Sometimes, simply having a professional cleaning will help. Dentists offer professional whitening regimens in their office for more challenging cases.
Finding the right treatment to whiten teeth often depends on the cause of the discoloration. Stains caused by smoking, coffee, tea, or wine get reasonable results with any type of product. Aging and family genetics can cause discoloration too. These can be lightened, but it might mean a trip to the dentist for something stronger than what can be found at the drugstore. Dentists’ whitening products contain strong hydrogen peroxide solutions that can whiten even very dingy teeth.
The only stains that can’t be helped are those caused by certain medications such as tetracycline. Aside from that, teeth whitening is something that can fit into nearly every budget and can make a huge impact on a patient’s self-esteem.
The Freshest Breath
When it comes to interacting with others, bad breath (also called halitosis) is one of the simplest problems to tackle. Unless there is an underlying medical condition or prescription drug interaction that is causing bad breath, the problem is easily remedied. Good oral hygiene that includes regular brushing and flossing is essential to fresh, clean breath. Oral rinses, mouthwash, and drinking plenty of water can help too.
In some cases, halitosis can be a symptom of a more serious problem like tooth decay or pulpitis. Regular dental checkups can find and fix those problems if and when they occur.
A Full, Straight Smile
Gaps, crowding, or crooked teeth can make a person want to hide their smile. That might give the wrong impression upon receiving a compliment! Seeing a dentist or orthodontist can be the answer, no matter what the patient’s age.
Braces are still an effective way to realign even the most crooked teeth. Granted, some people, especially adults, may feel like braces are an even bigger embarrassment than an imperfect smile. Luckily, traditional braces have become less noticeable with the introduction of clear braces or lingual braces that are attached to the back of the teeth.
Adults and kids over the age of twelve have another option in clear alignment trays. Products like Invisalign are a popular alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign straightens mild to moderate crowding and crookedness using clear plastic alignment trays. Their convenience (they can be removed for eating, drinking, and cleaning) is a huge selling point. Not only that, Invisalign is available at many dental practices, so there is no need to see an orthodontist.
Another issue that can cause embarrassment is a cracked, chipped, or missing tooth. Dentists can place a crown over a damaged tooth that will look and feel just like the original. Not only will it complete the smile, but it will protect the root of the tooth from bacteria and decay.
A dental implant can fill the space created by losing a permanent tooth. Endodontists are specialists in root canal procedures, but they also fit patients with implants that are hard to distinguish from real teeth.
It’s a Health Issue, Too
Obviously, you deserve compliments on much more than just the condition of your teeth. But if a dental problem is eating away at your self-confidence, that’s a big deal. It may be time to explore your options for a solution. After all, everyone wants a healthy, attractive, compliment-worthy smile. Common dental issues that make people self-conscious can be easily fixed.
But yes, it’s not all about looks. Some oral health problems can cause pain and lead to serious medical conditions. For example, untreated tooth decay has been linked to respiratory infections, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more.
The bottom line is that dental health concerns should not be ignored. A dentist or orthodontist can offer solutions that will make patients feel better and look better. Instead of feeling bad about their teeth, they can become confident with a smile that they feel is worthy of compliments.
The first step is to talk to your dentist. If you don’t already have one, we’ll help you find one near you. Just click here.