TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The most popular type of smile in Taiwan is the parallel smile, according to a study by Taipei Medical University’s College of Oral Medicine, reported ETtoday.
According to the survey, more than 50 percent of respondents preferred the parallel smile, which consists of the mouth in a crescent moon shape with the bottom rim of the upper front teeth (maxillary) parallel with the curve of the lower lip. In addition, respondents felt that showing the upper front eight to nine teeth from incisor to first or second premolar was ideal.
The college's deputy dean Cheng Hsin-chung (鄭信忠) led a team of researchers who surveyed 773 Taiwanese people on the types of smiles they liked most, and found the majority at 52 percent preferred the parallel smile to other smile types. Among those who preferred the parallel smile, 33.4 percent preferred to see the upper front teeth up to the second premolar, while 21.3 percent felt seeing the first premolar was enough.
Cheng's team also researched the side smile, which is the smile seen from the side of a person's face, because such smiles are more frequently seen when people are interacting together in a group. The study found that when 3/4 of the face can be seen, 41.9 percent preferred the parallel smile with a crescent shape, but if only 1/2 of the face is seen, respondents preferred a smile in which the lower rim of the upper teeth and the lower lip are completely parallel. The results show that people have a different aesthetic when it comes to smiles viewed from the front and the side.
In terms of differences in preferences between the men and women, female respondents preferred the crescent-shaped smile, while males preferred a more "open" smile in which the lower rim of the upper teeth and the lower lip are completely parallel.
A previous foreign study found that revealing 17.7 percent of the lower teeth was most visually appealing to respondents. Cheng said that 60 percent of respondents in his survey said that showing the lower teeth (mandibular) halfway when viewed from the front to be ideal. However, if 3/4 or 1/2 of the face was seen when making a smile, respondents preferred only seeing 1/4 of the lower teeth.
Cheng noted that the smile preferences among Taiwanese and Westerners are quite similar. Western studies have found that 84.4 percent of respondents also prefer the crescent-shaped parallel smile.
The percentage of South Koreans who prefer the parallel smile are very close to Taiwanese at 60 percent.
In addition, Cheng said that both in Taiwan and abroad, people prefer smiles in which the center line of the upper jaw (maxilla) perfectly aligns with the center lines of the face, though a discrepancy of up to 1 mm is still liked by 22.6 percent of Taiwanese.
Cheng said that people can practice showing their teeth for a "social smile" by "biting on chopsticks."
Woman demonstrates using chopstick to practice "social smile." (CNA photo)