Finding Out What Your Teeth Say about Your Personality

Can our teeth really shine a light on our personality traits and habits? Find out for yourself with this entertaining guide to the weird and wonderful world of teeth.

What Your Teeth Say about Your Personality

Image by Alex on Flickr.

We all know how powerful the right kind of smile, at the right time, can be. Whether the primary objective is career success, personal progression, physical improvement, or just plain romance, sometimes, the best tool is also the simplest. According to behavioural studies, if you are a person who smiles wide and often, you are likely to be more optimistic, attract better luck, and enjoy more job and life satisfaction.

So, there really is no overestimating the power of a smile. This idea is backed up by evolutionary scientists who believe that smiling originally developed as a social signifier, much like the tail on a canine. While dogs wag their tails as a way to invite contact from humans and other animals, our method is to smile. It, essentially, has the same effect. If you smile at somebody, you are indicating that you are happy for them to be around you.

Yet, the quality of a smile is entirely dependent on a very important part of the body – the teeth. For people with visibly cracked or missing teeth, smiling can be hard because it leaves them feeling self-conscious. It also leads to the development of other bad habits like mumbling and slouching. As our mouths are a very prominent feature, misaligned or damaged teeth can severely knock the confidence.

The Importance of Good Dental Health

This is precisely why good dental health and care is essential. If you want to avoid future issues with your smile, you need to start taking care of your teeth nice and early. This means brushing twice a day, flossing where possible, minimising the consumption of sugary snacks, and visiting the dentist regularly. This is the only way to ensure that teeth remain healthy as they age and begin to show signs of wear.

If you have not been to the dentist for a long time, be bold and conquer your fears. The dentist may comment on the empty gap in your medical records or they may not. They might ask you whether you are nervous or they might not. Every dentist is different, but one thing is for certain; this is a caring profession and modern specialists are approachable, friendly, and a great source of advice.

Once you have had a dental examination, the dentist will discuss their recommendations with you. If they include a treatment, you will be asked to return at a later date. If possible, use this time to do some research on the proposed procedure. The more that you know about the treatment (whether it be a root canal, an extraction, or a filling), the more relaxed you will feel when it is time to confront it. Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to the dentist.

How Our Teeth Represent Personality

It might come as a surprise to find that many believe people teeth are representative of personality. They look to the size, shape, and alignment of teeth to signify what kind of a person owns them. This might sound a little farfetched to others, but there is certainly some degree of truth in the idea. We are able to tell a great deal about a person from the makeup of their mouth.

This is why archaeologists are always delighted when they uncover piles of ancient molars. For one, they are extremely easy to date, because all teeth follow the same growth patterns. The teeth owned by a teenage girl are slightly different to those owned by a middle aged man and these slight distinctions fall into straightforward categories. Also, teeth are one of the few parts of the body which can show visible signs of wear and continue to function.    

For instance, much has been learned about the habits of ancient civilisations by studying the marks and grooves on their teeth. From the way these teeth grow, move, expand, and change, it is possible to draw up detailed anthropological histories. All in all, teeth are pretty amazing. The question is, can they really tell us anything about our personalities? And if so, how can we apply these insights to everyday life?

Getting to Grips with the Basics

The best place to start when studying teeth is with the most basic, but universal, signifiers. So, the characteristics that represent age, for instance. In younger mouths, the central incisors still have quite round and curvy edges. However, as a person matures, these edges get ground down and take on a more square shape.

For women, the lateral incisors are rounder at the ends and squatter than the central incisors. Alternatively, male lateral incisors are lengthier and squarer in shape. It should come as no surprise to find that certain habits not only leave their mark on the surface of teeth, but also strongly indicate the presence of distinct personality traits. A good example of this is chronic teeth grinding.

If a person persistently grinds their teeth, the habit will show on the enamel. The same rules apply to behaviours like smoking, drinking lots of coffee, abusing alcohol, and even snoring. Essentially, our vices make themselves known within our mouths even if we manage to conceal them in other ways. For grinders, gnashing the teeth together in this way is a strong indication of nervousness or stress.

It can lead to serious dental problems, so if you routinely grind your teeth, it could be time to think about breaking the habit for good. The teeth are not designed to be worn down at this accelerated pace, so avoid potential headaches, jaw pain, hearing loss, and serious temporomandibular disorders by resisting. If you find this too difficult, ask your dentist for some advice on the best way to stop grinding.

Showing Off a Healthy Set of Teeth

Whether you think it fair or not, most people make judgements about bad teeth which automatically reflect badly on the owner. It might be the case that you meet a person with discolored teeth who has a winning personality. However, the truth is that many people would never bother to find out, after making a snap judgement about their oral hygiene first.

It may sound a little harsh, but we live in a world that is ruled by largely homogenised aesthetic values. In other words, we are programed to assume that people with better dental health are more capable overall. People with very white teeth, free of stains and discoloration, are offered significantly more opportunities in life. They are considered more employable and more attractive by members of the opposite sex.

To prevent your own teeth from becoming stained, cut back on the amount of coffee and fizzy drinks that you consume. If you eat anything with the potential to stain, wait 40-60 minutes, and then brush your teeth. You are strongly advised to adhere to this pause, because brushing too soon after eating will only move the acidic compounds around. For those who already have stains and want to get rid of them, a trip to the dentist is the best place to start.  

Matching Teeth with Personality Traits

As aforementioned, not everybody is convinced that teeth can be representative of personality traits. Nonetheless, this is still a very interesting aspect of the way in which many of us perceive our teeth and their value within everyday life. The following section will briefly outline some of the most convincing matches between teeth and personal traits.  

The Passive Personality

If you are a person who likes to take things easy and rarely gets stressed out, you are likely to have flatter canines, with curvier tops. You probably indulge in habits like chronic grazing (eating when not really hungry) and drink lots of carbonated liquids. If this sounds like you, try your best to minimise the frequency of both habits. Drinking too many fizzy beverages will eventually rot the teeth and lead to cavities.

The Anxious Personality

On the other hand, anxious personalities are likely to have quite small teeth. They have a tendency to bite their nails and grind their teeth. Don’t forget that tooth grinding is a really destructive habit and steps should be taken to curb it wherever possible. If left unchecked, grinding can wear away at the surface of teeth.

The Aggressive Personality

People with slightly more aggressive character traits usually have thinner, more pronounced canines. They often protrude out past the lateral incisors. Like anxious personalities, these people are prone to tooth grinding. They may also make the mistake of brushing teeth too hard, because they struggle to be patient.

The Reckless Personality

This personality is often dubbed ‘party animal’ and can always be found at the heart of celebrations. They are relaxed about habits such as drinking heavily, smoking, and consuming large amounts of carbonated drinks. For many, piercings and tattoos are very appealing. The problem for reckless personalities is that all of the behaviours described above can cause serious damage to teeth.

The Competitive Personality

If you have a competitive personality, you are likely to be prone to teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and chewing ice. If you play sports, you usually approach dental dams and mouth guards with a ‘give or take’ attitude. However, to ensure the health of your smile, you may need to give these decisions a little more thought.

Dealing with a Chronic Grinding Habit

As already described, chronic grinding wears away the surface of the teeth and contributes to accelerated deterioration and degeneration. You do want to avoid this at all costs, so commit yourself to breaking free of the habit. It will be hard at first, because the automatic impulse to return to ‘stress gestures’ is very strong. However, with a little bit of determination it is possible to stop grinding in its tracks.

First, think about why you grind your teeth in the first place. If you are a sleep grinder, this is not always possible; sometimes, there is no real explanation for what we do while unconscious. If it is a stress response, which appears in the presence of pressure or expectation, try replacing it with something a little less damaging. For example, you could condition yourself to swap teeth grinding for playing with a bracelet or keychain.

This will take a while to work, but if you always stop grinding when the habit is noticeably occurring and actively transfer the thought and the action to a different motion, the impulse to grind should wane. The method is a very common example of transference. Ideally, you would not need to turn to a nervous tic for comfort at all, but if you cannot help it, at least you can make sure that the habit is not a harmful one.

Recognising the Value of Your Teeth

If you have tried the tips outlined above and are still struggling with tooth grinding, it could be time to get a mouth guard fitted. These easy to use devices are available from dental surgeries and are designed to hold and secure the teeth slightly apart. They are primarily recommended to patients who grind in their sleep, but they can also be used at home, in private.

Get in touch with your dental specialist today to find out more about getting hold of a mouth guard. For stronger, healthier teeth, you might also want to think about ways to reduce jaw clenching and other nervous tics. Dealing with these issues now will not only help your oral health to remain effective, it will lower your overall dependence on ‘stress motions.’ This is particularly important for anybody who would like to get involved with public speaking in the years to come.

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