Wed, Jul 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese prefer parallel, toothy smiles: survey

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A woman in Taipei yesterday demonstrates a crescent-shaped smile that proved most popular in a survey conducted by Taipei Medical University’s College of Oral Medicine.

Photo: CNA

The most preferable smile curve in Taiwan is a type of parallel smile, a survey conducted by Taipei Medical University’s College of Oral Medicine showed.

A smile has three main degrees: commissure, posed and unposed, college deputy dean Cheng Hsin-chung (鄭信忠) said.

The mildest type is the commissure smile, similar to the Mona Lisa’s smile, in which the mouth is closed and one corner is slightly raised. The second type is the posed smile, also known as the “social smile,” which is marked by a controlled curve that shows a few teeth. The third is the unposed smile, or the “spontaneous smile,” with a wider opening that often accompanies laughter.

Cheng’s research team surveyed 773 Taiwanese about the types of smiles they prefer and found that a parallel smile — a crescent-shaped mouth that shows some front teeth, with the lower rim of the upper teeth parallel to the curve of the lower lip — was the most likable smile, chosen by 52 percent of the respondents.

As for the amount of teeth shown, eight to nine — the front teeth to the first or second premolars — was preferred by 54.7 percent of the respondents.

As people often view smiles from one side of the face, especially when chatting with a group of people, the team also surveyed the most likable smile curves as observed from the side.

The most-liked smile curve when the face is at a 45° angle is the same as when viewed from the front, but when the face is turned 90°, the most preferred smile places the lower rim of the upper teeth parallel to the lower lip, rather than parallel to the smile curve, Cheng said.

A foreign study suggested that showing 17.7 percent of the lower teeth is most likable, but about 60 percent of the Taiwanese respondents said that showing half of the lower teeth is most likable, and showing about one-quarter of the lower teeth is most preferred when viewed from the side, Cheng said.

Side-smile preferences slightly varied according to the gender of the respondents, as more women preferred the crescent-shaped mouth showing only a few teeth, but more men preferred a more open mouth, he added.

People who are not used to showing their teeth when smiling can practice by biting on a chopstick, Cheng said, adding that as long as the mouth and teeth are healthy, there is no beauty standard for a perfect smile — only subjective preference.

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