Turn that frown upside down -- healthy gums are something to smile about

Mar 31, 2008

A smile is one of the most universally recognizable facial expressions, helping to depict an individual’s happiness, confidence, attractiveness, sociability and sincerity. And now, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Periodontology (JOP), the official publication of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), a smile may also help convey healthy teeth and gums. Researchers found evidence that periodontal, or gum, disease may negatively affect an individual’s smiling patterns and deter someone from displaying positive emotions through a smile.

The study, conducted at the University of Michigan, evaluated the smiling patterns of 21 periodontal patients while viewing a segment of a comedy program. At predetermined measurement points throughout the segment, the researchers assessed three dimensions of the patients’ smile: the horizontal width of the mouth in millimeters, the open width of the mouth in millimeters, and the number of teeth shown.

In addition, the researchers also noted the number of times the patient covered his or her mouth while watching the segment. Individual perceptions of how the patient’s quality of life is affected by oral health were also considered. The data were then evaluated along with a clinical exam of the patient’s periodontal health.

“Since periodontal disease is prevalent in such a large number of adults, we sought to investigate if the disease affects a person’s smiling behavior,” said study author Dr. Marita R. Inglehart. “Smiling plays a significant and essential role in overall well-being. Previous findings suggest that smiling can affect social interactions, self-confidence and can influence how people perceive one another.”

The study findings indicated that periodontal disease can certainly impact how a person smiles. The more symptoms of gum disease found in a patient’s mouth, such as periodontal pockets between four to six millimeters deep or loose, moving teeth, the more likely the patient was to cover his or her mouth when smiling or to limit how widely the mouth opened during the smile. In addition, the more gum recession seen in the patient, the fewer teeth he or she showed when smiling. The way patients perceived their quality of life as a result of their oral health was also significantly correlated with the number of teeth affected by periodontal disease.

“It is already widely known that periodontal disease is connected to systemic health,” said Dr. Susan Karabin, President of the AAP. “These results help demonstrate that periodontal disease may affect more than just overall health. It can also impact actual quality of life, making caring for one’s teeth and gums all the more important.”

Source: American Academy of Periodontology

Explore further: Experts denounce clinical trials of unscientific, 'alternative' medicines

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Go green for healthy teeth and gums

Mar 05, 2009

With origins dating back over 4,000 years, green tea has long been a popular beverage in Asian culture, and is increasingly gaining popularity in the United States. And while ancient Chinese and Japanese medicine believed ...

Scientists unlock a 'microbial Pompeii'

Feb 23, 2014

An international team of researchers have discovered a 'microbial Pompeii' preserved on the teeth of skeletons around 1,000 years old. The key to the discovery is the dental calculus (plaque) which preserves bacteria and ...

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nilbud
not rated yet Jul 10, 2008
Smiling is directly related to stupidity.