Physical appearance plays a role in social interactions. White straight teeth are suggested as an ideal in the current social perception. Why is it so and what beliefs are connected to pearl white teeth ideal?

What is ideal?

The dictionary defines ideal as a “standard of perfection, beauty or excellence[4].Preference for beauty is partially inborn. Children in the age of 3-6 months can already express sympathy towards faces they find attractive and symmetric [5]. Besides, our perception of excellence is being developed and changed over time. That can be caused also by external factors. By interacting with people, we gain new inspirations and persuasions based on which we change our opinions on what is beautiful. 


Until the early twentieth century, black teeth were perceived as a symbol of attractiveness and wealth among Southeast Asian cultures. Teeth-blacking helped people to gain the desired look and sexual attractiveness [1]. In Japan, black teeth were associated with married aristocratic women [2]. Black teeth ideal was also spread in Europe, mainly in England. The trend was brought by Queen Elisabeth I, who was a big fan of sugar and sweets. Because sugar was an expensive commodity back in the day, Queen Elisabeth’s black teeth became a symbol of royalness [3]


Nowadays, the ideal is an exact contradiction to the historic perception. White straight teeth are associated with prestige, status, beauty, maturity and health. It indicates good hygiene and self-care. 

How does ideal get propagated?

Messages about ideals are transferred by various means usually by online and offline socialisation. Propagation of certain beauty prototypes leads to an idea that something is worth achieving [5]. 

One of the principal offline influences on one’s teeth appearance is made by dentists recommendations. Dental care specialists are considered to be professionals and their credibility has a big impact. However, they are educated by higher authorities who, based on certain assumptions and evaluations, follow a model of teeth perfection ideal [5]. White teeth are associated with good oral health and therefore match with the specialisation and goal of the dental care profession.

Besides dentists, parents are having an authoritative impact on children’s perception of ideals. They lead their children to certain hygienic habits in order to prevent them from having yellow/dark teeth. This idea settles deep down in the brains of kids and the learned perception follows them during their adult life.  

Moreover, the white teeth ideal is presented in media and by social interaction. Representatives of ideal, usually models or influencers, use to wear the “perfect smile” which leads to the desire of their followers to achieve the same result.

What do white teeth represent?

White straight teeth are believed to represent a higher socio-economic class [5]. It is caused by the fact that dental care and orthodontics can be expensive. People who care about their teeth usually don´t mind paying more money for good dental care. Eventually, it becomes visible in their smiles. 

Additionally, white teeth are also associated with attractivity. Study shows that attractive people are provided with more opportunities in personal and professional life [6]. Perception of beauty has a significant influence on our choices and behaviour and therefore ideal white teeth can make a big influence on important life occasions. That is one of the reasons why we want to have pearly white teeth.

Additionally, straight white teeth can impress. They stimulate positive associations of one’s lifestyle and hygiene. 

How to achieve the ideal?

Besides proper dental hygiene routines, there are effective ways to whiten teeth. The simple way to do so is at-home teeth whitening. There are several products for teeth whitening available on the market. At-home teeth bleaching kits have been proven to be effective. However, it is important to have a critical look at a list of ingredients. The whitening gel should not consist of hydrogen peroxide that is very harmful to teeth enamel. Moreover, remineralizing elements should be included as they help you to avoid teeth sensitivity and restore your oral health. One of the most popular non-peroxide, remineralizing teeth whitening kits that are effective, safe and reliable is JuliBrite At-home Teeth Whitening Kit. It can help you to achieve the white teeth ideal that can result in positive reactions of people around you and your own good feeling. 

All in all, we wish you good luck in searching for the right option for you. Don´t forget to put your dental and general health to the first place. That is what matters the most to keep your smile beautiful for decades!


Make sure that information you read is fully reliable and based on professional and scientific studies. Find more about the topic in the following sources:

[1] Zumbroich, T.J. (2009)  ‘Teeth as black as a bumble bee’s wings’: the ethnobotany of teeth blackening in Southeast Asia, Ethnobotany Research & Applications


[2] Smith, C.A. (2003)  So tasteful: a note about iron-gall ink, The Book and Paper Group Annua


[3] DeMello, M. (2012)  Teeth painting. Faces Around the World: a Cultural Encyclopedia of the Human Face


[4] Ideal. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary.


[5] Khalid, A., & Quiñonez, C. (2015). Straight, white teeth as a social prerogative. Sociology of Health & Illness, 37(5), 782–796.


[6] Ruffle, B. J., & Shtudiner, Z. (2011). Are Good-Looking People More Employable? SSRN Electronic Journal. Published.