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Study Shows That One-Third of American Adults Are Unhappy With Their Smile

Posted on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- More than one-third of American adults are unhappy with their smile, according to a new study commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and conducted by Wakefield Research. Not only is a smile the first thing many people notice when meeting someone new, but a good smile can lead to perceptions among social circles, potential love interests and professional settings.

Of Americans who are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth, 36 percent believe they would have a better social life if they had better teeth. This may be especially true among young adults, as 48 percent of Americans ages 18-24 have untagged a picture of themselves on Facebook because they didn't like their smile.

Unsurprisingly, bad teeth also represented the biggest dating turn-off among men and women. According to the study, 77 percent of women think crooked teeth are worse than a receding hairline in a potential love interest. The study also found that 22 percent of Americans who are unhappy with their smile think that better teeth would lead to a better love life.

On a professional level, 78 percent of Americans perceive adults with crooked teeth to be unsuccessful. Fourteen percent of those unhappy with their teeth felt that they might be missing out on a better job.

"Professional orthodontic treatments have come a long way in recent years, with innovative options such as clear aligner trays, lingual braces and ceramic braces," said John F. Buzzatto, DMD, MDS, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. "Healthy teeth can be moved at any age and it's encouraging that two-thirds of Americans think they are never too old for treatment."

The survey queried 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18 and older between September 21 and September 25, 2012 with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

The AAO, a professional association of more than 17,000 orthodontists in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, is one of the oldest professional associations in America and serves as a primary source of information on orthodontics and oral health. Orthodontists are uniquely qualified specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities to correctly align teeth and jaws. 

About the American Association of Orthodontists: Founded in 1900, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is the world's oldest and largest dental specialty organization.  The Association encourages and sponsors key research to enable its members to provide the highest quality of care to patients, and is committed to educating the public about the need for, and benefits of, orthodontic treatment.

For more information about orthodontics or to find AAO member orthodontists in your area, please visit

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