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Australians spend over $100 billion dollars a year on “looking good”

Updated: Mar 4, 2019

According to research conducted over the last 5 years, Australians (both sexes) put a lot of time, effort and money in to their appearance.  But what exactly is that 8 billion dollar a month industry made up of?

As it turns out clothing, shoes and hair account for almost half of the 8 billion dollars spent monthly, with *cosmetic enhancements, manicures/pedicures and accessories making up most of the rest.  Sadly , there is no specific data collected on how much people spend on their teeth in this report but in an Australian government statistics report, total expenditure on dental services in Australia was $7,857 million in 2010–11.That is a small fraction (less than 1/12th or roughly 8 percent) of the “Looking Good” fund. This is especially interesting considering how much of an impact a smile has.

(*Cosmetic enhancements meaning- Plastic surgery, botox, fillers etc…)

Often people are reluctant to spend money on their teeth and make up excuses to avoid the dentist, but they will spend $200-300 in one visit on hair that needs to be maintained every 4 -10 weeks (maybe not many men spend this amount, but women often do). And that is only on HAIR SERVICES. Not shampoos and conditioners. Throw in skin care products, some makeup and this is thousands and thousands of dollars on something we often use only a handful of times before we move on to something new.  Does this even have any health benefit to it? (Perhaps psychologically –  but I am not a psychologist so…moving on….)

Teeth however are an incredibly aesthetic part of our health. Teeth that have active decay or cavities don’t just LOOK bad: they are BAD. They can even SMELL bad. So now you have spent $1000 on your beautiful hair, shoes and makeup for a date or a job interview but you have a tooth that you can’t chew on and you are popping breath mints to cover some bad taste you have had in your mouth for a week. Hmmmm….

From just a purely aesthetic standpoint it is a great investment to take care of your teeth. And, if necessary, spend the money to have them improved structurally and aesthetically- if only the top front 6 teeth (which is what most people see when you smile).

It is something that may not be obvious to you until you see a comparison like beautiful Catharine here :

Most celebrities will spend a small fortune on their smile as soon as they have the finances to do so, as it takes them from ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY and it doesn’t come with the same judgement or taboo that nose jobs or other physical enhancements may come with.

Everlasting white smiles are obtainable by dentists who make natural looking and beautiful, yet functional, smiles come to life.  At Jeremy Keating Dental Practice, we have been working with smile makeovers for the past 20 years and have taken yellow, chipped smirks into beautiful beaming white smiles while taking years off of our patients’s appearance. (These same patients often tell us stories of how people tell them they look great but cannot quite place what it is they have had done. Which we think is pretty cool.)

Maybe she’s born with it….(but probably not) Sometimes people will want very white teeth and pick a photo of a celebrity who has the shade they are after.  Generally speaking it is often crowns or veneers that this celebrity has had placed on their front teeth and isn’t really going to be obtainable for natural teeth, under natural, coffee-drinking and red wine-swirling conditions. (And not likely even with professional whitening). The material that crowns and veneers are made of won’t stain so you are in the clear and can keep that white smile white!

Back to the 8 billion dollars spent monthly, on cosmetic enhancements, manicures/pedicures and accessories  – teeth not included.

Forty seven percent of people surveyed reckon the first thing they notice about a person when they first meet them is their SMILE (according to an American Study by Philips -and they are not alone on this). With that in mind maybe we should be spending more on our mouths and smiles than on perfume, clothing and hair COMBINED (which we are not). We all know how important a first impression is and (according to Dictionary Online ) “In psychology, a first impression is the event when one person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of that person”.  So it may sound to reason if the first thing people notice when they meet you is your smile, perhaps a greater investment from your cosmetic budget should be re-directed here.

** (notice that SMELL is third on the list at 11% so we can safely assume bad breath could add a further few percentages and tip us past 50% of what people notice first. ) .

Fixing problems with your teeth whether they are functional, aesthetic or both is something that we could make higher priority. I know it doesn’t seem like as much fun going to the dentist for regular cleans and checkups every 6 months and maybe getting those 1 or 2 teeth fixed BUT it actually is going to make you healthier and statistically, maybe even sexier. Taking care of the healthy teeth you have by way of regular check ups and professional cleans and a great at-home oral hygiene routine, will save you money and pain in the long run. And put in perspective with some of the other things we spend A LOT of money on, it really doesn’t seem like all that much, does it?

*References:**(AIHW 2014. Oral health and dental care in Australia: key facts and figures trends 2014. Cat. no. DEN 228. Canberra: AIHW.

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