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News USA

A recent study proved that most Americans connect a perfect smile with positive characteristics. (Photo courtesy of Kurhan/shutterstock)
Apr 23, 2012 | News USA

People with straight teeth considered happier, healthier and smarter

by Dental Tribune International

SAN JOSE, Calif., USA: The alignment of teeth provokes assumptions regarding success, popularity, intelligence and general health, a recent perception study conducted by market research consultancy Kelton has found. The study was ordered by Align Technology, manufacturer of Invisalign, a proprietary method for treating malocclusion, or misaligned teeth.

From hair and skin to clothes and shoes, one's appearance is the basis for snap judgments, whether being interviewed for a job or just looking to make a good first impression.

According to the Kelton study, for Americans, teeth are a standout feature when it comes to what they notice and recall when first meeting someone. About two-thirds of Americans are more likely to remember attractive features than those they find to be unpleasant.

The online perception study contrasted images of men and women with straight and crooked teeth. The survey was completed by a representative sample of 1,047 Americans. In the study, respondents were shown images of people with varying smiles and teeth and asked to give their honest opinion about them. The respondents were unaware that they were comparing people with straight teeth to people with crooked teeth. Results of the study indicated that Americans perceive people with straight teeth as possessing more desirable qualities than those with crooked teeth, including attributes such as being happy, surrounded by loved ones and successful professionally.

The findings of the perception study confirmed the effect that crooked teeth can have on one's social life and how they are perceived by others. Nearly one-third (29 percent) of the respondents said that his or her teeth is the first characteristic of someone's face they typically notice, and 24 percent said that this is also the facial feature that they remember the most after meeting someone.

When looking at the images, the respondents perceived those with straight teeth as 45 percent more likely to get a job than those with crooked teeth when competing with someone with a similar skill set and experience. People with straight teeth were also seen as 58 percent more likely to be successful, as well as 58 percent more likely to be wealthy.

According to the study, when it comes to attracting a possible partner on a dating site, those with straight teeth are seen as 57 percent more likely to get a date based on their picture alone. Nearly two in five would consider not going on a second date with someone with misaligned teeth.

Furthermore, people with straight teeth were 21 percent more likely to be seen as happy, 47 percent more likely to be viewed as being healthy and 38 percent more likely to be perceived as smart. Nearly three in four (73 percent) Americans would be more likely to trust someone with a nice smile than someone with a good job, outfit or car, the study found.

A nice smile seems to be of great importance to many Americans. Close to three in five (57 percent) of the respondents stated they would rather have a nice smile than clear skin. Eighty-seven percent of the respondents would even forego something for a year in order to have a nice smile for the rest of their life, such as giving up dessert (39 percent) or vacations (37 percent).

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