Beauty and the teeth: Perception of tooth color and its influence on the overall judgment of facial attractiveness

Institute of Psychology I, University of Leipzig, Germany.
The International journal of periodontics & restorative dentistry (Impact Factor: 1.42). 09/2007; 27(4):349-57.
Source: PubMed


This study investigated the influence of changes in tooth color on judgments of facial attractiveness. Standardized photographs were presented, and teeth were digitally manipulated (main categories: original, whitened, colored; filler category: impaired). Participants were instructed to evaluate the faces for attractiveness. Additionally, they were asked to name facial features they found either positive or negative with regard to attractiveness. Whitened teeth were mentioned more often in a positive way but did not improve participants' assessment of attractiveness. A colored tooth did not attract attention, and the attractiveness judgment did not worsen. Tooth color is thus not necessarily perceived and does not have a major impact on facial attractiveness.

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    • "This was further supported by the findings of this study where satisfaction with general appearance was found to have a significant relation with participants' desire for all types of treatments that could improve the appearance of teeth. In contrast, other studies found no relation between satisfaction with dental appearance and satisfaction with general appearance [21, 26]. Psychological factors and different samples might explain the controversy in this regard. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. To identify participants' satisfaction with appearance and the desired treatment to improve aesthetics. Materials and Methods. 220 participants (127 males and 93 females, mean age = 21.4 ± 1.5 years) were recruited into the study. A structured questionnaire was used to assess patients' satisfaction with appearance and what treatment they desire to improve aesthetics. Participants scored the level of satisfaction with appearance using visual analogue scale. Results. The VAS mean score of satisfaction with general appearance was 6.8 ± 2.3. Half participants were dissatisfied with tooth appearance and 65.9% were dissatisfied with tooth colour. Higher VAS scores were associated with higher desire for all treatments that improve tooth appearance (P < .05). Dissatisfaction with tooth appearance increased with increased dissatisfaction with teeth colour, feeling of poor tooth alignment, presence of fractured anterior teeth, and increased desire for orthodontic, crowns, and dentures treatments (P < .05). Dissatisfaction with tooth colour was associated with increased desire for tooth whitening and tooth coloured fillings (P < .05). Conclusions. Participants had high levels of dissatisfaction with tooth appearance and tooth colour. Dissatisfaction with tooth colour contributed to the increased dissatisfaction with tooth appearance. Dissatisfaction with tooth appearance, colour, alignment, and condition was significantly related to high desire for aesthetic treatments.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · International Journal of Dentistry
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    • "The lack of effect of whitening teeth on increasing attractiveness beyond that seen in natural tooth colour is in keeping with other findings (e.g. [81]). However in the present study this could be an artefact of the relatively young age of the participants and the models. "
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    ABSTRACT: Ornament displays seen in animals convey information about genetic quality, developmental history and current disease state to both prospective sexual partners and potential rivals. In this context, showing of teeth through smiles etc is a characteristic feature of human social interaction. Tooth development is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Adult teeth record environmental and traumatic events, as well as the effects of disease and ageing. Teeth are therefore a rich source of information about individuals and their histories. This study examined the effects of digital manipulations of tooth colour and spacing. Results showed that deviation away from normal spacing and/or the presence of yellowed colouration had negative effects on ratings of attractiveness and that these effects were markedly stronger in female models. Whitening had no effect beyond that produced by natural colouration. This indicates that these colour induced alterations in ratings of attractiveness are mediated by increased/decreased yellowing rather than whitening per se. Teeth become yellower and darker with age. Therefore it is suggested that whilst the teeth of both sexes act as human ornament displays, the female display is more complex because it additionally signals residual reproductive value.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    • "In addition a study of 180 female patients in South London [6] showed that whitened teeth were preferred over teeth with original color with the former associated with greater attractiveness. In contrast another study in Germany done by Höfel et al. [26] found that perceptions of facial attractiveness were independent of tooth color indicating that satisfaction with dental appearance may not correlate positively with facial attractiveness. This finding underlines the influence of psychosocial attributes on the perception of attractiveness. "
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    ABSTRACT: We assessed factors influencing patients' satisfaction with their dental appearance and the treatments they desired to improve dental aesthetics. A cross-sectional study was performed out among 235 adult patients who visited the Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia dental clinic. A structured, interviewer-guided questionnaire was used to identify patient satisfaction with their general dental appearance, cosmetic elements and desired treatments. The 235 patients consisted of 70 males (29.8%) and 165 females (70.2%), of mean age 31.5 years (SD 13.0). Of these patients, 124 (52.8%) were not satisfied with their general dental appearance. In addition, 132 patients (56.2%) were not happy with the color of their teeth, 76 (32.3%), regarded their teeth were poorly aligned, 62 (26.4%), as crowded and 56 (23.4%) protruded. Dissatisfaction with tooth color was significantly higher in female than in male patients (odds ratio [OR] of 1.99 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13-3.50). Tooth whitening was the treatment most desired by patients (48.1%). Results of multiple logistic regression analysis showed that patient dissatisfaction with general dental appearance was significantly associated with female gender (OR = 2.18; 95% CI: 1.18-4.03), unhappiness with tooth color (OR = 3.05; 95% CI: 1.74-5.34) and the opinion that their teeth protruded (OR = 2.91, 95% CI: 1.44-5.91). Most patients in this study were not satisfied with their dental appearance with a greater percentage of females expressing dissatisfaction than males. An age was not associated with satisfaction. Unhappiness with tooth color and feelings of having protruding teeth also had a significant negative influence on patient satisfaction with general dental appearance.
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