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Having poor dental health affects more than just a person's smile - it may also impact his or her ability to find a decent job. If a person walks into a job interview with discolored, broken, cracked or missing teeth, he or she may get passed over for an applicant who may not necessarily be more qualified, but gives off a more professional appearance. Recently, MSN published an article explaining more about the dental crisis in the U.S. - particularly in California - and how people with bad teeth may have difficulty finding work.
According to the news source, insufficient access to dental care is a particular problem in California. In 2009, problems with the budget forced the Denti-Cal program - which provided dental care to the state's underserved populations - to dwindle to almost nothing. This has left many of California's uninsured unable to gain access to the dental care they need, which is why people in the state should look into discount dental plans to help them get care.
Bad teeth hurt your career
The news source spoke to one woman from Modesto who explained that she is in desperate need of a job, but she believes that no one is hiring her due to her bad teeth. While it may seem hard to believe that having some missing teeth could keep people out of work, according to some dentists, this is a tale as old as time.
"If you want to portray someone as being wicked, they have missing front teeth. If they're ignorant, they have buck teeth," Susan Hyde, a dentist and population scientist at the University of California at San Francisco, told MSN. "Even from a very early age, we associate how one presents their oral health with all kinds of biases that reflect some of the social biases that we have."
These biases don't just hurt people socially, but in their jobs as well, according to Lindsey Robinson, a dentist and current president of the California Dental Association.
"If they have a job that requires them to interact socially with the public, it's almost impossible for them to get that job," she said. "Customer service jobs, good entry-level jobs, they're not available to people who lack the basic ability to smile, to function, to chew properly."
Robinson added that many people are embarrassed by their bad teeth, which may make them less likely to look for a job. They may also have a lack of confidence that shows to their potential employers when they go in for interviews.
Not just a problem in California
Of course, the issue of poor dental health keeping people from getting jobs isn't just a problem in California, but all over the country. For example, The Deseret News published an article in 2012 about a Salt Lake City counseling office that hired a well-tempered temp who everyone liked, who was eventually let go to her bad teeth. Her employers told her that her cracked, crooked teeth did not give off the kind of image that they wanted to project.
This is why it's so important for people to make sure that they are taking proper care of their teeth and visiting a dentist regularly. Individuals in California or other states who do not have dental insurance should look into discount dental plans, which have a fee of about $100 a year and will give them access to dentists who will care for their teeth for up to 60 percent less than their usual fee.
People need to look into these plans before they find themselves out of work and unable to find a new job due to their not-so-pearly whites.
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