HR & Management

Bad teeth are bad for business – research

3 min read

17 July 2013

In business, presentation is everything. Forgetting your dental hygiene could mean lost business, research shows.

Have you ever stopped to consider how your oral hygiene impacts your business? Your teeth might be more important to your bottom line than you think.

According to a survey of 613 senior SME decision makers by AXA PPP healthcare, some 48 per cent of senior decision-makers in small and medium-sized businesses say that poor dental health or hygiene would have a negative effect on their decision to do business with someone.

Another 44 per cent admit that unsightly teeth or bad breath would adversely affect their decision to promote an employee – regardless of their ability.

You can imagine why: no-one wants to have that “icky” feeling when sitting down with you at a meeting; you want people to feel at ease, rather than them wanting to get 10 metres away from your bad breath.

Unfortunately, when it comes to taking are of their own oral health, business owners are far from perfect:

  • 30 per cent never floss and 27 per cent have not visited a dentist in the past year
  • Almost a third (31 per cent) either rarely (18 per cent) or never (13 per cent) check their teeth before a big business meeting – with men almost twice as likely as women to fall foul of this faux pas

The key lesson is to spend as much time worrying about your buccal appearance and tidiness as you would for the rest of you. You wouldn’t head to an important business meeting wearing a stained tie or ripped clothes, so why pay any less importance to the cleanliness of your teeth?

Smiling is also key. The survey highlights the power of a smile: two-thirds agree that if employees started smiling more at work, it would have a positive impact on their business’s performance.

“The suggestion that people are suffering career or business setbacks because of bad teeth or poor oral health is alarming, especially when good oral hygiene and regular checkups can so readily help to secure good dental health and achieve a winning smile,” says AXA PPP healthcare’s Dr John Burke. 

“Good oral health and smiling are fundamental to wellbeing, and employers who help their employees to look after their dental health can gain in a number of ways – with fewer workers being distracted by toothache or having to take time off for urgent trips to the dentist. And a readiness to smile can also make a big difference in creating a positive workplace atmosphere. Customers appreciate it too.”