• 83% of UK parents say their teenager feels self-conscious about their appearance, specifically their smile
  • 66% of UK teens feel pressured to have a ‘perfect’ smile
  • Social media platforms are the leading reason why teens feel the pressure
  • Almost half of parents admit their teen is concerned about the financial cost of ‘looking good’

LONDON, Sept. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — With summer holidays underway, new research has uncovered that 83% of UK parents say their teenager feels self-conscious about their appearance, specifically their smile.

In fact, Bupa Dental Care has found that 66% of UK teens are feeling under pressure to have a ‘picture perfect’ smile and just over a quarter of parents (26%) think that the summer break will only prompt new insecurities in young people when it comes to their appearance. 

At a time when reality TV and social media continue to influence millions of teens across the UK, 2 in 5 parents share the opinion that wearing braces would help lift self-esteem in young people while the same percentage of female teens aged 13-19 agree braces would help boost their confidence. Meanwhile, a third (30%) of teenagers said that having braces would help them to feel more confident, particularly when having their photograph taken.

To help teens get on the right tracks of oral health, Dr Richard Jones, Specialist Orthodontist at Total Orthodontics, part of Bupa Dental Care, explains why orthodontic treatments can offer far more than just cosmetic benefits and how teenagers can stay on the right tracks of oral health and have the confidence to smile as they return for the start of the new term.  

“Our research uncovered that in fact only 22% of teenagers have a full understanding of what braces are and the long-term benefits associated with straightening treatments. Orthodontics, also known as teeth straightening, helps to align crooked or crowded teeth to improve their function and appearance. Typically, braces are recommended to patients who are looking to fix overcrowding, prominent teeth, deep overbites, or an abnormal eruption of teeth amongst other problems. Whilst braces can of course boost confidence levels, there are plenty of other long-term health benefits associated with having an orthodontic treatment.

“Orthodontic treatment, for example, gives you straighter teeth which enhances both dental and facial aesthetics, boosting confidence and psychological well-being. It also helps improve the health of the teeth and gums as well as helping to reduce the likelihood of trauma to prominent teeth. Alignment of the teeth may also facilitate other complex dentistry such as crowns, bridges or implants. Correction of the bite so that the front and back teeth meet more evenly on closure may will also help function and, in some cases, help with discomfort associated with the bite.” 

Richard continues: “Orthodontic treatments do provide an array of patient health benefits and while all teeth straightening procedures can help boost overall self-esteem, particularly in young people – it’s important to remember that all orthodontic procedures should be a considered health choice and any decision made to have treatment should not be purely driven by pressure to ‘look good’.” 

The research from Bupa Dental Care unveiled that almost half of teens (43%) feel that the pressure to have a ‘perfect smile’ comes from social media platforms followed by peer groups and friends (35%), while nearly half (46%) of parents feel the same way, putting increased pressure down to the likes of Snapchat and Instagram.

Meanwhile, almost half of adults (49%) admitted that their teen was also concerned about the financial cost associated with ‘looking good’ and a quarter (25%) of teenagers think that their appearance will be front of mind on their first day back at school.

Richard Jones concludes: “As a parent, there are many options to consider when you are looking into an orthodontic treatment for your teen, including the type of braces that are most suitable for them and how they will look. It is important to visit your orthodontist for an expert opinion on the most suitable, safe, and effective treatments available.”

Our general dentists and orthodontists at Bupa Dental Care provide patients with expert care and advice so they can feel assured that they are receiving the best treatment and support for them. To find out more about the treatments available at Bupa Dental Care, patients can visit their nearest practice or visit the official Bupa Dental Care website: 

SOURCE Bupa Dental Care


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