If not, why not?
Not only is kissing a great stress reliever and a starting point to intimacy and warmth, physiologically it can elicit intense feel-good hormones and emotion when the romance really begins.
However, the avoidance of intimate contact like kissing may arise from feeling self-conscious or embarrassed about what is going on in your mouth. You might have stained or discoloured teeth, visible fillings, loose dentures, crooked or missing teeth, unsightly crowns, implants or bridgework, bleeding gums, bad breath or an overall unattractive smile – just one of these issues could really cause you to lose confidence in yourself. You may feel unable to kiss your partner and even worse, you may not want anyone to get close to you. Most disconcerting is that your partner might interpret your reluctance to kiss or get up close and personal as being about them and not you. In fact, you might feel so mortified about an on going dental issue, you are too anxious to even book a check-up with your dentist.
So just how important is our smile in the context of intimacy and attraction? The Oral Health Foundation reports that our teeth and smiles are rated the second most important attractive feature by both men and women, following only behind personality. Bupa found that 42% of people surveyed said that the first thing they would change about themselves is their smile, whilst over one third said they were embarrassed or found their teeth so unattractive that they would not smile for photos.
I have found that people postpone their trip to the dentist for a number of reasons (other than not wanting to snog), such as a past traumatic experience, often originating from childhood. Some have left a dental issue so long they are ashamed to have anyone look too closely or fear they are beyond help. There are obvious financial concerns as many people do not realise they can pay for their dental care in instalments rather than up front. Patients might not be familiar with new advances in aesthetics and pain free dentistry. The latest developments in the field have made correcting even complex issues faster and far less invasive. A misconception I often encounter, for example, is that clients need to have multiple teeth pulled out if they have overcrowding issues, where in fact, the latest cutting edge advances rarely call for extractions. In my experience, I have found that creating an informal, relaxed and fun environment can make even the most anxious patient comfortable and the most daunting procedure manageable.
So do you still fancy a kiss? Are you going to allow a worrisome dental matter to get in the way of your most intimate moments, or leave your partner wondering why you have stopped kissing them goodnight? Why not give your dentist a call and transform your smile into something you are proud of – whether you are posing for a ‘selfie’ photo, or puckering up for a confident, uninhibited kiss?
– Stefan Cloete