The study of 2,000 UK employees, carried out by Bupa, found that two thirds (67%) consider a good smile to be an ‘important asset’ at work.
A quarter (24%) of respondents felt that better teeth would give them a greater chance of being promoted.
More than half (54%) believe a genuine smile from their boss is one of the best forms of motivation and more than two fifths (42%) find people with healthy-looking teeth more authoritative.
Dr Steve Preddy, clinical director of dentistry at Bupa, said: ‘Our smile plays a large part in the initial visual impression we each create in meetings, interviews, during presentations and so on.
‘An attractive smile suggests confidence, competence and authority, which can enhance career prospects and have a motivating effect on others.
‘Unfortunately, unhealthy-looking teeth, such as those that are over-crowded or spaced, can have the opposite effect.’
The study also found that UK employees worry that unhealthy teeth can damage their job prospects, their performance at work and the confidence they have in themselves and others.
Just under two fifths (37%) believe that bad teeth can harm an individual’s employability, and a third (33%) of respondents feel it can hold back a person’s career progress.
More than two in five (42%) employees have found working with colleagues with bad teeth distracting; while close to a third (29%) admit that it affects their confidence in a co-worker’s ability to do their job.
More than a quarter (28%) of employees try not to smile at work, as they are not confident about their teeth.
Almost as many (27%) have actually considered getting their teeth ‘fixed’ to boost their self-confidence at work.
Dr Steve Preddy adds: ‘People are starting to realise the impact that unhealthy looking teeth can have on their professional life, so it comes as no surprise that so many are considering cosmetic dentistry.
‘Clearly UK employees no longer feel they should just grin and bare it when it comes to the perfect working smile.’