Most of us want to have “nice” teeth. We generally mean that we want our teeth to be straight, white, and look great when we smile.
In addition to being critical to our overall health, our dental health can have a huge impact on our dating life.
Straight Teeth Are An Asset Because:
In various studies, people with straight, white teeth are considered more attractive and successful. Those with straighter teeth were judged to be much more desirable to the opposite sex and gave the impression that they were more successful and healthy than those without straight teeth.
Do Guys Prefer Girls With Straight Teeth?
Studies show that men and women find straight teeth more attractive than crooked teeth.
This is probably because straight, white teeth are indicators of strong genetics. The part of our brain still impacted by our evolutionary history finds straight teeth highly desirable in a potential mate.
It’s funny that straight teeth indicate strong genetics because, according to Daniel Lieberman’s book, The Story of the Human Body, most hunter-gatherers had nearly perfect dental health.
So straight teeth were a throwback to the hunter-gatherer humans when most people had straight teeth naturally.
They’re still valued highly in today’s society, where the perfect smile is often achieved through artificial means.
How Many Girls Have Crooked Teeth?
9 out of 10 people have some misalignment of their teeth, but between 1/2 to 3/4 of children in the US get braces.
However, as this Pacific Standard article states, it’s difficult to pin down exact numbers on who gets their teeth fixed using the orthodontic intervention.
Some statistics say young women are more likely to ask for and get braces than boys. Adult women are more likely to get their teeth fixed than adult men.
Even in countries where braces are covered if they’re deemed necessary, but parents have the option to pay if it’s purely aesthetic, more girls than boys have braces. Parents are more likely to pay for their girls’ braces to look nicer than their boys.
This might be because women, in general, feel more pressure to adhere to stricter beauty standards.
How Much Do Crooked Teeth Affect Your Smile?
We’ve all been in a situation where the first thing we notice about someone is their smile and if their teeth are nice. Sometimes we even use someone’s smile as an attribute to remember them by.
Don’t feel bad about noticing a smile above anything else, though–almost a third of Americans will notice a smile over other facial features.
This huge emphasis that we, as a culture, place on teeth being straight and white can lead to those with crooked teeth smiling less. Crooked teeth have a large impact on the self-esteem of adolescents and adults.
It’s difficult to quantify, but having crooked teeth can impact how much or how broadly someone smiles. People who are self-conscious about their teeth (regardless of the actual level of the crookedness of their teeth) will smile less, smile differently, or cover their mouths with their hands when they smile or laugh.
But should you let your teeth impact how you smile?
Should I Smile With Closed Lips If My Teeth Are Crooked?
If you feel more comfortable and confident smiling with your lips closed, you should do that.
However, sometimes closed-lip smiles can be interpreted by others as insincere, disappointed, or closed-off. If you’re downplaying your joy to avoid smiling widely or laughing, it’s probably not worth it.
However, there are plenty of ways to rock a big, imperfect smile.
Take “Orange is the New Black” and “Mrs. America” actor Uzo Aduba, who has a large gap between her two front teeth. She’s discussed that she was self-conscious about the gap as a child and was pressured as an adult to get the gap “fixed.”
However, in a 2015 interview, Aduba said that now she can’t help herself from smiling to make up for all of the smiles she hid when she was younger.
More than the actual imperfection of one’s teeth, confidence and a genuine feeling behind a smile are more likely to be received well. After all, a smile isn’t just in the teeth.
Lips, cheeks, and eyes all come into play. Smile with your eyes and the rest of your body language, and you should be just fine.
Hygiene is More Important than Straight Teeth
Most people don’t have perfectly straight teeth. Many folks have only slight misalignment, which potential partners might not even notice or may find cute or endearing.
If this is the case, dental hygiene becomes a more important factor. Since we’re constantly judged on our appearance, many people can make snap judgments about someone’s personality by their hygiene.
No one likes to talk to someone who has bad breath or body odor, nor do they like to spend time around people with excessively yellowed teeth or sweat stains.
Therefore, taking proper care of your teeth will go a much longer way than having a “perfect” smile. Healthy gums, nice-smelling breath, and lack of stains add to a great smile.
But like with anything, people can go too far. Celebrities tend to have teeth that are artificially whitened, which has altered our perception of what teeth should look like.
Over-bleaching, your teeth can permanently damage them and make them appear blue or translucent at the bottom and make them much more sensitive.
Sticking with the basics—brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash twice daily—are simple, cheap steps that everyone can take to make their smile better. If you can afford it, see a dentist regularly.
How Much Do Guys Care Really About Teeth?
People in general care a lot about the appearance of their teeth and strangers’ teeth.
Research conducted by Kelton Research showed that survey participants are 57% more likely to engage with someone on a dating site (based only on their picture) if they have straight teeth.
Another great indicator of how important teeth are when dating: 38% of the survey respondents said they wouldn’t go on a second date with someone with crooked teeth, compared to only 23% of people who said they wouldn’t go on a second date with someone who still lives with their parents.
There’s also a perception that people with straight, white teeth are more successful than those who have crooked teeth. There may be some logic to this since dental care is incredibly expensive.
Frequently, those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds don’t receive adequate dental care throughout childhood and adulthood, which can lead to a less appealing appearance of one’s teeth (not to mention an increased risk of dental-associated health problems).
Therefore, those with nice teeth either come from a family with access to dental care or have achieved success as adults to afford their dental care.
Humans care a lot about other people’s teeth. Crooked teeth are a turn-off, and people make assumptions about the person behind that misaligned smile that may or may not be true.
But over the last few decades, we’ve come to understand that a full set of healthy teeth are a critical part of overall health, which should be our focus. Regardless of how they’re placed within your smile, it would help if you emphasized maintaining healthy teeth and gums instead.
Having excessively crooked teeth may lead to other health issues, like additional plaque buildup and even difficulty breathing (in extreme cases), but most don’t have severe problems.
But we’re all susceptible to the issues that arise from bad dental hygiene, so we must practice those habits for ourselves and anyone we end up with.
First Impressions Are Everything | PR News Wire
The Value of a Great Smile At Any Age | Psychology Today
Girls Braced For Beauty: Why Women Are So Much More Likely To Get Their Teeth Fixed | Pacific Standard