Malocclusion and perceived inteligence

Some read more into occlusion than proper bite

Occlusion status 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 (open bite, deepbite, underbite, overjet, crowding and spacing).

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

People with normal occlusion were rated as most attractive, intelligent, agreeable and extraverted, while those with underbite were rated least attractive, intelligent and extraverted. Females with malocclusion 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 malocclusion 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.

In addition, the study quotes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination III from 1988-91, which showed that 57 percent to 59 percent of adults had some degree of malocclusion.

Although that study is two decades old, it still provides the most current prevalence data for malocclusion among U.S. adults.

The American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics is the official publication of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2011; 140:669-79; www.ajodo.org

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