Job interviews – ensure you have a smile for success

During job interviews, you’ll not only be judged by what comes out of your mouth, but also by what’s in it, according to one US dentist.

Northlake Atlanta dentist, Dr Peter V Vanstrom, says: ‘First impressions are based on appearance, and your teeth and breath can either improve or destroy your chances of landing that new position. Discoloured, crooked, or missing teeth are not only embarrassing, but future employers can be turned off by ugly teeth and bad breath.’

In today’s economy competition for jobs is fierce.

Applicants need every advantage they can find to land a position. Dr Vanstrom says applicants’ teeth need to be a shiny as their shoes because in today’s economy recruiters can afford to be picky with so many qualified people looking for work.

He says there are some oral conditions that an individual can easily fix but others require the care of a professional.

He says: ‘Coffee, tea and cigarettes can leave visible stains while cigarettes can also leave a smell easily detected by the interviewer.’


He suggests jobseekers lay off cigarettes and coffee for a few days and use a teeth whitening product.

He advises women to ensure they avoid getting lipstick on their teeth by using a lip gloss or muted shade instead of bright red.

‘Lipstick on your teeth makes you look sloppy and hurried, sinking your prospects the minute you open your mouth.’

Crooked, permanently stained, or missing teeth are more serious issues that need the attention of a dentist.

He says: ‘These are more labour intensive and expensive to fix but with the dramatic progress that’s been made in dentistry, it will take less time and cost less than it would have just a few years ago. The investment will pay off with a healthier mouth and a better chance of landing a coveted job.

‘During an interview the worst thing a person can do is put their hand in front of their mouth to hide missing, crooked or stained teeth before they smile or speak. A smile and a confident response project self-assurance. It makes a person appear likeable.’

Dr Vanstrom adds that there are certain foods not to eat prior to an interview including obvious choices such as garlic, anchovies and tuna.

‘Job applicants should also avoid spicy deli meats such as pastrami, salami and pepperoni 24 hours prior to an interview. Cheeses such as blue cheese, Roquefort and Camembert can leave strong odours as can hot peppers and onions.’

He also suggested sticking with water and avoiding whisky, wine or beer whose odours are difficult to mask and send the wrong message to the interviewer.

He said that breath mints and gum are cover-ups that don’t last very long.

Instead he suggests eating a sprig of parsley or chewing herbs and spices such as cloves, fennel or anise.

Dr Vanstrom suggests job seekers can give themselves an edge prior to an interview by getting a dental exam, completing any restorative work, straightening crooked teeth and possibly having cosmetic dentistry.


• Dr Peter Vanstrom has owned and operated Artistic Dentistry of Atlanta since 1997. For additional information go to


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