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You cannot afford to ignore your smile or your breath!

By: George Malkemus
May 4, 2018

It’s no secret. Looking for a job is nerve wracking. But there’s one thing that can help land a job offer: a great smile. Having a healthy, good-looking smile with fresh, pleasing breath can have a positive effect on a job interview, or for that matter, any personal interaction.

Studies show that people who have bright, white teeth are perceived to be more successful, attractive, intelligent and healthy. First impressions are important and a person’s smile is the window to that impression, with either a happy warm positive smile or a sad sheepish withdrawn one. In a recent study, 92 percent of the people polled thought that a person’s smile could affect their careers.  

In 1985 when I began my Rohnert Park practice, I met a local insurance salesman.  He was trying to sell me disability insurance. But he had this one upper front tooth that was obviously a fake, large dark tooth, which stuck outward. It was extremely distracting, especially considering he was speaking to a dentist. It made him seem like a con artist or a used car salesman [No offense to used car salesmen, a tough job]. What he was selling was a good product and something I needed, but I could not concentrate on what he was saying. I did buy the insurance and lucky I did, because I used it during my 2005 experience with colon cancer. [Hurrah, I am a 13-year survivor after surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatment.] I also restored the natural beauty of his smile with crowns and veneers. Recently, he told me that it was the best thing that he had ever done for his business. Establishing immediate rapport with a winning smile is so vital in building relationships.  

Studies have shown that 93 percent of communication between people is non-verbal. Only 7 percent of what people react to and hear is the content of what is being said. [A sad state of affairs, but true.] What is most important is the person’s body language and facial expression. A beautiful positive smile helps make people listen to you and respond in a positive way. Many of my patients say that they never smile because of  the way their teeth look. They are psychologically self-conscious about their smile and it affects their personality. What a wonderful change for them after a smile makeover. Often just an in-office whitening procedure is all that is necessary to give an individual an instant smile and confidence improvement. 

About 15 years ago, I did a dental examination on a 42-year-old male patient. He confided that he never smiled and had grown a giant walrus mustache to hide his upper teeth because he hated them and was ashamed of his smile. His upper front teeth were dark, crooked and had large spaces between them. He had this Eeyore [the donkey from Winnie The Pooh] type personality. He appeared quiet, sad and timid.  After making him a new smile with veneers, he shaved off his mustache and walked around with the biggest Cheshire cat grin. He became effervescent and began laughing aloud. It literally changed his personality to being more out-going and positive. And people reacted more positively to him accordingly. Bad breath is a turn off for any personal interaction, especially a job interview.  Usually bad breath indicates gum disease, but halitosis can also be caused by deep tooth decay. Having dental treatment for decay problems and a professional deep cleaning to improve gum health are necessary for stopping bad breath. 

Many years ago, I examined a young man who was in a graduate program at SSU.  From a distance, he had a nice smile, but a closer look showed puffy, swollen red gums and he had the worst bad breath. It was difficult to stand within a few feet of him, even wearing a dental mask. Being embarrassed, he confided that he had “difficulties with meeting girls.” Amazingly, he had no idea he had halitosis. No one ever told him and he was unable to smell himself. [The human brain blocks out its own body smells. It is a mammalian characteristic, so that animals are able to smell predators and/or prey. A deer cannot smell itself, so as to be able to smell for mountain lions or human hunters.] Often, I am the first person to point out a patient’s bad breath.  

The cause of his bad breath was severe gum disease, many deep cavities and heavy plaque on his tongue. After going through gum therapy and decay removal with fillings and crown restorations, he was given good dental hygiene instructions, including brushing and flossing techniques and use of a tongue scraper. Personal relationships improved dramatically for him. Now, he is happily married with a boy and girl and teaching at Santa Rosa Junior College.

A healthy, beautiful smile can have major positive psychological and interpersonal significance in a person life, including finding the right job and the right life partner.  

Enjoy Life and Keep Smiling!

George Malkemus has a Family and Cosmetic Dental Practice in Rohnert Park at 2 Padre Parkway, Suite 200. Call 585-8595, or email info@  Visit Dr. Malkemus’ Web site at