A smile is a meaningful way to communicate with those around you. We use our smiles to share how we feel every day. Studies have looked into the impact our smiles have on our self-image since the 1980s. When someone doesn’t feel proud of or comfortable with their smile, it compromises their self-esteem. This research begins to illuminate how our dental health is linked to happiness.
How Dental Health is Linked to Happiness
The health of your smile has a significant impact on the quality of your life. As more data around this connection to happiness was collected over the years, “evidence grew of the impact of oral disease on social roles.” The relationship between a person’s smile and the quality of their life has become increasingly important. The World Health Organization (WHO) changed the definition of “health” as all-encompassing physical, mental, and social well-being, not just a lack of illness, and even invented an acronym to reflect the update.
Poor Dental Health Decreases Quality of Life
The acronym, “OHRQOL,” stands for “oral health-related quality of life.” The impact dental health has on our quality of life is being studied today. Dentists are examining what risk factors identify that an adolescent needs dental intervention so that they can carry positive self-esteem into adulthood. Researchers found that the need for orthodontic treatment had the “maximum impact on self-esteem.”
In addition to the need for orthodontia, other dental problems can directly impact a person’s self-esteem and quality of life. Decayed teeth, tooth loss, and dental caries significantly influence both self-esteem and the health of an individual.
Missing or damaged teeth significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, affecting:
- Smile appearance
- Ability to socialize
- Ability to perform work/daily activities
Preventive treatment from a dentist will help you avoid conditions that negatively impact well-being. Bi-annual dentist visits and the proper at-home dental care routine can help you strengthen your sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and comfort in social situations. Overall, it can improve your quality of life.
Children’s Dental Health Impacts Development
Looking specifically at adolescents ages 10 to 17, researchers examined whether or not their self-confidence was affected by dental disorders such as missing or broken teeth, untreated dental caries, and an imperfectly spaced bite. The study found that dental health and happiness were linked, and dental health has a substantial influence on self-esteem.
As dentists become more aware of the impact poor dental health has on children (physically and mentally), they can intervene and improve smiles.
Access to Dental Care
Studies demonstrate that dental health is linked to happiness. That means maintaining your dental health can lead to a healthier, happier life. Dental benefits from Delta Dental make this an easy task.
From giving you information on proper brushing and flossing methods at home to dentist visit reminders , here at Delta Dental, we’re all about helping you make the most of your dental benefits. Why? Because it leads to a happier, healthier you. With an extensive network of dentists in your area, not only do benefits save you money, they make it easier to find the perfect dentist for your needs.
- Individuals with dental benefits are more likely to go to the dentist. 81% of individuals with dental benefits reported seeing a dentist twice a year or more. This drops by 58% when compared to uninsured individuals that see a dentist twice a year or more.
- Individuals with dental insurance are more likely to have restorative and “tooth-saving” procedures like fillings, crowns, and root canals done, leading to a healthier mouth with natural teeth.
- Those without dental benefits are more likely to have extractions and dentures done.
For information on what’s included in your plan, click here. Don’t have a plan yet? Learn more about getting dental benefits.