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Can your bite make you socially attractive and professionally advantaged? Absolutely.

Can your bite make you socially attractive and professionally advantaged? Absolutely.

Your bite – known in dental terms as your occlusion – affects how adults rate the attractiveness, personality and even the intelligence of other adults, according to a study published in the November 2011 edition of the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.

A researcher in Michigan and a private practitioner in North Carolina combined to survey 889 people (46 percent male, 54 percent female, ranging in age from 18 to 90 years), asking them to evaluate photos that had been manipulated to show either normal occlusion or one of six malocclusions (“bad bites”, such as open bite, deep bite, underbite, crowding and spacing).

“The ratings of attractiveness, intelligence, conscientiousness, agreeableness and extraversion differed significantly depending on the appearance of the bite,” their report states.

People with normal bites were rated as most attractive, intelligent, agreeable and extraverted, while those with underbite were rated least attractive, intelligent and extraverted. Females with “bad bites” were rated more favorably than males. Younger and more educated respondents were more critical in their evaluations than older, less educated respondents.

Conducting the study were Drs. Jase A. Olsen, a private practitioner in Southern Pines, N.C., and Marita Rohr Inglehart, associate professor, Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan.

“Judgments that are negatively influenced by the effects of a bad bite might leave those without a normal occlusion at a social disadvantage and professionally handicapped,” the study notes.

The study also quotes earlier research showing that “attractive” people were perceived to be more intelligent and socially competent, to have a more positive personality, to have better social interactions and to receive more favorable professional ratings.