**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a close friend, who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
Dental hygiene (or lack of) is a deal-breaker for many people. And that seems to be the case for a friend of mine, who we’ll call “Kate.”
Kate recently met a guy online that she’s really into. He’s intelligent, funny, and sweet. He’s employed, owns his own place, and has his life together. However, there’s one small catch: he’s missing his two front teeth.
Kate is willing to overlook a lot of things, but dental hygiene is not one of them. So she’s been avoiding meeting him in person because she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings, but she’s getting tired of making excuses.
He said that there were some things he needed to “get together” before getting serious. Kate assumed that getting his teeth fixed was one of those things. But when she mentioned it, he got upset and said that it wasn’t a big deal.
She’s not sure what to do at this point. Does she continue talking to him and hope he’ll eventually see the importance of dental hygiene? Or does she move on and find someone more concerned about their appearance?
After listening to Kate drone on and on about this situation, I decided to give her my unfiltered opinion. “If physical appearance is important to you, you should move on,” I said. “It’s not shallow to want to be with someone who takes pride in their appearance. It’s a major turn-off when someone doesn’t take care of their teeth.”
Kate was not happy with my response. Everyone has different standards, and in her case, good dental hygiene appears to be something that she wants in a potential partner. SoI stand by what I said. If she’s looking for a long-term relationship, she should be with someone who shares her values.
How important are teeth in a relationship?
It’s not uncommon for people to stress the quality of the connection when it comes to dating. However, physical appearance does factor into the overall equation, and teeth are one of the first things we notice about people.
Oral health is not just about looking good. It’s also about physical wellness. Poor dental hygiene can lead to other health problems, like gum disease, bad breath, and even heart disease.
So, it’s not surprising that Kate is hesitant to date someone with bad teeth. She’s looking for someone who is not just physically attractive but also health-conscious.
Why does oral health appear to matter more to women than men?
According to a Delta Dental Plans Association study, “74% of women say that good oral health is one of the sexiest qualities a person can have.” Another 27% of women admitted that they were likely to break up with someone who failed to brush twice a day.
The study also found that while oral hygiene appeared to be more important to women, 72% of men said that beautiful smile matters (compared to 68% of women). But a whopping 70% of women said they wouldn’t “kiss someone they believe has poor oral health.”
So why does oral health matter more to women? Probably because exchanging bodily fluids with someone who has poor oral hygiene can impact your health. And women tend to be a bit more contentious about these things.
But at the end of the day, everyone is different. Some people may not mind dating someone with bad teeth, while others may see it as a deal-breaker. It all comes down to personal preferences.
Oral health influences the quality of life.
Besides improving physical appearance, good oral health also plays a role in the quality of life. A 2017 research study found that people with poor oral health can “limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psychosocial wellbeing.”
Rotten or missing teeth can lower self-esteem and confidence, and it can also lead to social isolation. Again, it’s not just about looking good for a date. It’s also about feeling good about yourself.
While it’s not fair to judge someone based on their physical appearance, the reality is that first impressions matter. And in many cases, the state of someone’s teeth is the first impression.
If you’re meeting someone for the first time, you’re likely to notice their smile before anything else. And if they have bad teeth, it can be a major turn-off.
The bottom line is that good oral health is essential, both for physical appearance and overall wellness. So, if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, dential hygiene is something you should take into consideration.
Do you think that teeth are important in a relationship? Let us know in the comments below!