The red carpet rolls out next month, marking the start of the 2017 awards season. All of the Western world will be immersed in this voyeuristic ritual of staring mesmerized at a parade of the world’s richest and most beautiful celebrities.
While red carpet hosts and journalists interrogate the stars about their designer dresses and accessories, they often overlook the most important part of the look – the smile.
According to Dr. Kevin Sands, cosmetic dentist to the stars, awards season is one of the busiest times of year.
“It’s bananas,” said Sands. “Everyone wants to at least have their teeth whitened before the big event. They’re doing all their Botox and everything else, and the teeth are the most important thing because the smile is the first thing you look at.”
The swag bags distributed at the awards shows provide even more evidence of the oral health obsession. Bags given out at the 2016 Emmy Awards included $600 worth of free dental work. The 2015 Grammy bags held $200 worth of porcelain veneer toothpaste, while the 2015 Oscar nominees received a rechargeable toothbrush and $250 worth of toothpaste.
Dr. Bill Dorfman, another celebrity dentist, put it this way: “In America, if you don’t have a nice smile, people think there is something wrong with you.”
He’s not wrong. According to a survey from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), virtually all adults (99.7%) believe that a healthy smile is socially important. The former president of the AACD, Dr. Jack Ringer, cited an academic study on the subject:
“Several years ago, psychologists did a study on the physical attractiveness phenomenon. They analyzed humans all over the world … to determine what humans deemed most important when determining physical attractiveness. It was broken down that the head was No. 1 … When they broke the head down, the mouth had a slight edge on the eyes.”
In other words, people all around the world can agree that a healthy smile makes a person more attractive.
In terms of a person’s career, past studies have revealed a correlation between physical attractiveness and earnings – more beautiful people report earning higher salaries. In fact, a good-looking candidate has a 72.3% chance of receiving a callback after an interview.
However, a more recent study out of University of California, Irvine suggested that a woman’s grooming habits can actually earn her a higher income. In fact, they learned that natural beauty was not as big of a factor in determining her career success as her ability to maintain a clean, healthy appearance.
Tooth-brushing, of course, is an important part of the grooming process for both men and women, yet one in four adults don’t brush twice a day, including one-third of men.
Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry is just one more way an individual can alter his or her appearance to get ahead in a heavily biased world that values beauty over all else.