Studies Show Good Teeth are Most Important in Seeking a Partner
We live in a society where physical attractiveness plays a huge role in how we decide whether or not we want to be involved with someone. Factors that come into this decision generally include strength, body type and hair colour, but a study in 2013 pushes all of these aside in favour of teeth.
The straightness, whiteness and overall appearance of a person’s teeth play an integral part in their physical attractiveness to another person, and this goes for both men and women.
The survey was performed by Match.com, a popular dating website. 5,500 unattached adults over the age of 21 were surveyed on what they find to be of the utmost importance.
60% of men and 71% of women claimed they care most about teeth for a potential date.
It’s in most western cultures that the ideal set is white, straight teeth. In Vietnam and some Asian cultures, black or dark brown teeth are a symbol of beauty when achieved by chewing nuts and leaves.
Another fascinating study on titled ‘Influence of teeth on the smile and physical attractiveness’ published in 2014, also conducted a survey on a dating website. Two photos, one in which the person’s teeth were digitally altered to appear straighter and whiter, were uploaded. Both the hits and attempts to contact the person from other users on the website were counted, and the digitally altered photograph received far more attempts to contact than its unaltered counterpart.
Why would we place so much importance on teeth?
A good smile
There’s nothing quite like a warm, glowing smile is there? A smile can signify trust, friendship and kindness, while also becoming one of the staples of a person’s individual appearance. Many people love the look of their partner’s smile, because it belongs to them. Nobody else has that smile.
More significantly, a smile showing teeth is generally a wider, happier smile. It makes sense then that teeth play a huge role in the attractiveness of a person’s smile. Because of this, many people have work done on their teeth, especially models, celebrities and anyone in the public eye, because we tend to harshly judge those whose teeth are crooked, yellow or disfigured in other ways.
Teeth can also signify more than just physical attractiveness, however.
Beyond the smile
A good set of chompers is considered essential in professions like acting and modelling, but the way teeth can define a person’s social standing is becoming more prevalent now than it ever has been.
Author Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers, David and Goliath) claims that people with bad teeth are given a lower chance of success, being denied promotions and good jobs. This means that not only do we prefer good teeth for our romantic interests, but we trust people who take care of their teeth more, giving them more responsibility and opportunities to succeed.
Turns out, the preference for teeth over all other attributes goes deeper than a simple physical preference. If such an attribute is potentially signifying a person’s job status and social standing, then good teeth could be a sign that a the potential partner will be a better provider in the future, will have a better career and ultimately be more successful.