woman with white teeth

Why Are White Teeth Attractive?

How Our Biology Dictates what we See as ‘Sexy’

Biology and evolution can explain why white teeth are seen as attractive.

We were all taught the age-old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover”. Yet, as humans we seem to be programmed with an innate desire to do exactly that. We judge people based off of their clothes, the car they drive, their posture; anything that could give us a (real or imagined) glimpse inside the lives and personalities of everyone from your best friend to a random person on the street. Of course, a quick visual inspection is far from an adequate gauge of any real information about someone – we all know this – but we can’t seem to help ourselves from doing it any way. It appears that the cause for this need to “analyze, theorize, and categorize” our fellow humans stems from our reproductive biology. Take, for instance, a kiss …

A kiss is one of the most intimate ways used by humans to express love and acceptance.  However, the technical reality of what is actually taking place when we are “locking lips” is much more scientific than romantic.  Think about it … While kissing, you exchange no personal details about yourself. You won’t find a credit card statement under that tongue. Nevertheless, there are people who swear that a kiss can tell you everything that you need to know about a potential mate. How can a kiss reveal so much about someone?


According to Joseph Alpert, MD of The American Journal of Medicine, “While kissing, couples exchange 9 milliliters of water, 0.7 milligrams of protein, 0.18 mg of organic compounds, 0.71 mg of fats, and 0.45 mg of sodium chloride, along with 10 million to 1 billion bacteria, according to one accounting. Many pathological organisms can be transmitted through mouth-to-mouth contact, including those that cause colds and other respiratory viruses, herpes simplex, tuberculosis, syphilis and strep.”

It seems that the human mouth has evolved to analyze the compounds fond in the saliva of potential mates, and use that chemical test to determine if they are a suitable mate. Their general health is measured, possible illnesses are identified, and their sexual maturity is determined. Basically every time you kiss your partner, you are giving them a kind of “physical”. So, when someone is known as a “good kisser”, it’s less of an indication of personal skill and more of a category of sexual health and genetic compatibility that indicates an ability to produce viable offspring.


Unless performed specifically for medical reasons, most visual examinations of another person are intended to assess a body’s general health for the purpose of breeding. With teeth, it is no different. Much like your skin, hair, or finger/toe nails, your teeth give a unique perspective into the inner workings of the entire body. Your smile gives the “reviewer” the ability to judge any genetic abnormalities, cardiovascular disease, as well as indications of your lifestyle and hygiene habits. All of which are used in their decision to pursue you as a possible girlfriend or boyfriend.

For example, if your teeth are uneven or spaced too far apart, that could be an indicator of poor nutrition when you were a child. That seems like an innocent enough assumption, right? However, that knowledge can spur other doubts that can draw your suitability as a partner into question … Why did they receive poor nutrition as a child? Did they not have a healthy home-life when they were young? Since your parents didn’t value a proper diet, is that something that you will spread to our (hypothetical) children?

Finally, that leads us to why white teeth are considered more attractive than darker shades …

A pearly white smile is a signal of good overall health, proper nutrition, and exceptional hygiene practices … You first earned your glistening “choppers” by receiving the proper genetics and nutrition from your parents when you are very young. You maintained that sparkling grin by continuing to keep your body well-nourished and your mouth clean.

Therefore, white teeth present the rest of you as clean, healthy, and with few genetic issues. It also speaks volumes for your character as well. When a person is seen as healthy, properly nourished, and with obvious signs that they know how to take care of themselves; what do you assume about them? Maintaining your health takes will power and maturity; traits everyone wants passed down to their children. They would probably be both, a superior lover and parent. They most likely have an active lifestyle too. Maybe they can lead you on that great romantic journey that you’ve been craving.

If these are the things that you wish people would say behind your back, then it is not too late. Celebrity Smiles & General Dentistry is the premier cosmetic, aesthetic, and practical, dental health providers in the Greater Chicago Area. Based in Westmont Illinois, Dr. Ronald Schefdore DMD and the Celebrity Smiles staff are experts at – not only – teeth whitening, but also straightening and everything in between. Come in today to take advantage of our “One Day Smile Makeovers” to see the incredible results that you can expect as a patient of our prestigious Westmont location.