As much as you don’t like to think about it, your smile says a lot about you – especially if you need dental work. Bad teeth can hurt your career options – particularly if you want to work with the public.
It’s not easy to keep your smile healthy if you don’t have access to a dentist. In fact, more than 47 million Americans live in places where it’s tough to access dental care, according to the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration. And that leaves many adults with oral health problems.
According to a report, Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010, nearly half (47.2%) of all U.S. adults have some form of periodontal (gum) disease.
The numbers get even worse for low-income adults. A 2008 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that people with low incomes are more than twice as likely to have had no dental care in the previous year, compared to higher-income adults.
Dental provisions of the Affordable Care Act include dental care for children next year, but adults are not covered. And if you have severe dental problems, particularly if they are obvious, such as missing, discolored or crooked teeth, potential employers will judge you.
It can also be embarrassing for people who have poor dental health care to job hunt. But when potential employees feel better about themselves, they are more likely to find work, according to a 2006 study.
For the study, researchers offered dental benefits to 400 welfare recipients with severe dental problems. Those who got dental treatment were twice as likely to find jobs or move off welfare than those who didn’t take advantage of the free care.