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Opinions

Good teeth are the new social status symbol

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According to social scientist Malcolm Gladwell, bad teeth are capable of impeding social involvement. He further explains that “next wave of discrimination” will be on the basis of the condition of one’s teeth. He claims that teeth are very steadily progressing to become the new standard of inequality. Unlike the old saying, “You are never fully dressed without a smile”, today the focus has seemed to shift away from the actual smile and towards the teeth. Our position in the society that we live in now not only relies on our upbringing and education but also on the state of our teeth.

The writer behind David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell, also stated that people with bad teeth, unfortunately, are often refused certain entry-level jobs thus immediately predisposing them to a reduced chance of success. This progression shows similar patterns as the breach between the healthy and the unhealthy grows. He compares the bad state of teeth to obesity stating that the two are essentially the same because they are indications of the same set of implications being drawn.

There is an increasingly popular trend at present among celebrities and television personalities of getting their teeth fixed using procedures that cost a fortune. Common treatments include veneers, teeth whitening via bleaching, as well as titanium implants. While Hollywood celebrities can afford such expensive treatment, those who are less fortunate might not be able to do so. Gladwell’s comments were supported by the results from the Government’s Health and Social Care Information Centre. Statistics obtained from the facility reveal that one-fifth of hospital admissions in 2011 for dental treatment were for patients belonging to the most deprived 10% of the population in England. There were, however, three times as many patients ranging from ages 0-29 seeking treatment for various reasons. These figures show more people than those aged above 60 which is traditionally when teeth begin to go into steady decline.

According to a poll conducted by VisionCritical last year, whiter teeth are interpreted to be a sign of wealth. The survey revealed that people with whiter teeth were assumed to earn approximately £10,000 more than they earn on average. Their pearly whites also made them look at least 5 years younger than their actual age thus improving their chances of employment by 10%.

Eddie Crouch from the British Dental Association stated that there was an obvious gap noticeable amongst financially sound teenager and less affording ones such that the former group could afford orthodontic treatment while the latter group simply could not owing to their poor standard of overall dental health.

May 10, 2017

Dental is part of the Medical News Group of publications which in 1968 became the pioneer of medical journalism in Pakistan. Medical News is the only periodical in Pakistan which has 3 simultaneous editions from Karachi, Islamabad and online.

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