With chewing gum, that’s gloomy! Losing your teeth is no joke, as research shows victims are up to a third more likely to never get a good grin
- People who are missing part of their teeth are less likely to smile
Losing your teeth is really no laughing matter, a study suggests.
Researchers have found that people who are missing part of their pearly whites are up to a third more likely to never grin the old-fashioned way.
Perhaps surprisingly, the lack of laughter has nothing to do with any reluctance to show off less than perfect tooth alignment.
According to experts writing in the Journal of Prosthodontic Research, the real reason is that difficulty eating hard foods can weaken the muscles used in laughter and make them less effective.
Previous research has shown that older people smile less and the researchers looked at whether tooth loss was a factor.
Researchers have found that people who are missing part of their pearly white teeth are up to a third more likely to never grin the old-fashioned way (Stock Image)
They analyzed dental data from almost 160,000 men and women aged 65 and older. More than 9,000 people, or about six percent, had low levels of laughter, defined as never or almost never laughing.
When the researchers linked that to tooth loss, they found that compared to people who had 20 to 32 teeth, those who had nine or fewer — and did not wear dentures — were 30 percent more likely to not smile. Among those with 10 to 20 teeth and without dentures, the risk was 14 percent higher.
According to the research team, the cause is probably difficulty eating hard food.
It leads to less effort on the masticatory or chewing muscles, ultimately making them weaker. These muscles also play a key role in facial expressions, so a decrease in their strength would make smiling difficult.
According to experts writing in the Journal of Prosthodontic Research, the real reason is that difficulty eating hard foods can weaken the muscles used in laughter and make them less effective (Stock image)
Meanwhile, there was no difference in laughter frequency between those who wore dentures and those with twenty or more teeth.
“The use of dentures prevented the deterioration of chewing ability after tooth loss, and as a result, smile frequency was maintained,” said the researchers from Tohoku University Graduate School of Dentistry, Japan.
‘Our results suggest the possibility that dental treatments may prevent a decrease in smile frequency after tooth loss.’
Laughter has been linked to a number of health benefits, including strengthening the immune system, increasing pain tolerance and improving heart function.