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They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, but research has shown that many people also look at a person's teeth when sizing others up.
The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that these days, there is more weight than ever placed on the whiteness and brightness of someone's smile.
According to Dr. Don Joondeph, president of the AAO, the original study into perceptions of dental health was conducted more than 25 years ago.
It consisted of a focus group applying various subjective adjectives to photographs of individuals with orthodontic problems and straight, white teeth.
The researchers found that descriptions of the same individuals grew more favorable when they had better teeth. They were even rated as having higher intelligence and better friend potential.
Dr Joondeph said that the same criteria is widely used today, explaining that "more than ever, young people and adults want to be perceived as healthy, attractive and appealing to their peers."
Cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as teeth whitening, have grown in popularity over the past decade. In addition, more adults have been opting to get braces on their teeth to enhance their smiles later in life.
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