Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Bad Teeth & Social Stigma - The Ugly Truth

Dentistry is horribly expensive, and as a result, large percentages of people in every age group avoid going to the dentist due to the high cost alone.  It is unfortunate, but there is a certain stigma attached to those who have poor dentition or decayed teeth; placed there by a society that considers one's appearance to be a measurable factor in their character, ability and even their intelligence.  After all, a smile is the first thing that people notice when they first meet someone.

How is the person with the decayed teeth, gum disease or misaligned teeth perceived by society in general? The answer isn't pretty.  Many are thought of as poor, some unintelligent, even more are outcast as socially inferior.  Some are denied entry into social groups, some are denied jobs. In some groups one is considered to be less likely to be successful if they have poor teeth. This treatment, this stigma, can lead to lower self esteem, depression and worse, poverty. It drives them even further down the social/economic ladder. 

It is interesting to note that the age group hit hardest by this problem are the millennial's. Dentistry is a luxury they simply can't afford. Due to the social stigma of poor dentition, many can't find jobs. It is estimated that some 30% of millennial's have tooth decay or are in need of serious dental care.  This is the highest percentage of any other age group.  Millennial's are also less likely to have dental insurance.  Senior citizens are second only to the millennial's.  Another travesty with devastating consequences, as the rise in dental costs affects senior's health and well being even more than their social status.

It is also interesting to note that the United States is a country that places a high importance on the appearance of an individual, in terms of social status.  In other countries, such as England, Australia, Africa and even Japan, it is more widely accepted to have a less than perfect smile. It just isn't that important to them. 

We, as a society, need to stop judging the book by it's cover. American's are a tough group!  Chill out, people!  Not everyone can look like a celebrity.

Keep smiling! 

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