London: Researchers have confirmed that we already know - a white and evenly spaced set of teeth makes people seem more attractive, and have also explained the reason.
Teeth are the human equivalent of a peacock’s tail - a sign of health and genetic quality designed to help choose a mate.
For the study, researchers from the universities of Leeds and Central Lancashire took pictures of models before digitally changing the colour and spacing of their teeth.
Three shades were used – a yellowish brown, healthy white, and startling white, which can only be achieved by bleaching.
They then showed the photos to 150 young men and women and asked them how attractive they found the models.
Unsurprisingly, yellow teeth were unpopular, while widely spaced teeth were also deemed less attractive.
However, the state of women’s teeth was particularly important.
“When males are looking at females and when females are looking at females, there is quite a strong effect,” the Daily Mail quoted Leeds University psychologist Colin Hendrie as saying.
“Males are thinking about attraction and females are in competition with each other,” Hendrie said.
Dr Hendrie believes that women’s teeth are used to help judge her age and provide a guide to how far she is from the menopause.
They can also contain clues to childhood illnesses, diet and some genetic disorders, he added.
The study has been published in the journal PLoS ONE.