Survey: Smile most important physical asset

People rank their smile and appearance of teeth as the most important aspect of their personal appearance, according to a consumer survey by ICOM Information and Communications for Nobel Biocare.

The results of the survey, which looked at nearly 55,000 people, provide insight into the prevalence of missing teeth in the U.S. and the general lack of understanding about the health consequences of missing teeth, according to the company.

The results were announced Wednesday at the Academy of Osseointegration annual meeting in San Diego.

The survey found that their smile and appearance of teeth was more important to people than hair, clothes, eyes, facial features, and physique.

Other notable results from the survey:

  • Almost 90% of respondents ranked their smile as the most important attribute, and almost 87% ranked the appearance of teeth as the second most important feature.
  • Nearly 50% of adults are missing at least one tooth.
  • While most adults were aware of that missing teeth could lead to difficulty in chewing and impact the appearance of a smile, respondents had limited awareness of the more serious health consequences, which can include bone loss that may lead to changes in face shape and repositioning of existing teeth.
  • A very strong correlation was found between prevalence of missing teeth among those in lower-income households and those with less education.
  • A high prevalence of missing teeth was found even in adults with higher incomes; 33% of U.S. adults in households with more than $75,000 annual income also had missing teeth.

"In this survey, we wanted to better understand how missing teeth affected patients on an emotional level and determine their awareness of the associated consequences," said Neil Park, D.M.D., vice president of professional relations for Nobel Biocare, in a press release. "The results from this survey have provided us with a deeper understanding of the importance of a smile to people, and underscore the need for better consumer education highlighting the consequences of tooth loss and the available treatment options that can increase satisfaction."

For more information on the survey, click here.

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