A top social scientist has claimed that our standing in society depends not on how intelligent or driven we are, but on the state of our teeth. Malcom Gladwell, author of David and Goliath, says that teeth are becoming the new benchmark for success, due to the fact that people with bad teeth are more likely to be turned down for ‘entry-level’ jobs thanks to their dental condition.
Speaking to The Times, Gladwell explained ‘that’s kind of the way we’re moving as the gap between the fit and the unfit grows. The teeth thing and the obesity problems are the same; they are symptoms of the same set of inferences that are being drawn.’ He added that ‘I think those kinds of physical characteristics – that’s completely the next wave of discrimination.’
A poll carried out by VisionCritical also found that people associate white teeth with wealth and status; the results showed that people with white teeth were considered to earn £10,000 more than they actually did on average. Healthy, attractive teeth could also make people look up to five years younger than their age and improve their employment potential by ten percent.
Eddie Crouch, of the British Dental Association, also told the paper that there is a noticeable gap between middle-class teenagers and those from deprived areas when it comes to orthodontic treatment. He explained that ‘Huge numbers of those kids that are referred to us from socially-deprived areas can’t have the treatment they need because their overall standard of dental health is too poor.’