Glied and Neidell (2008) report that women who grew up with fluoridated water earn 4% more than their non-fluoridated counterparts. There was no significant effect on earnings for men. The authors suggest that this demonstrates greater discrimination on appearance, and greater self-selection into fields that discriminate based on appearance, for women than men. This would be consistent with Chiao et al's (2008) finding that attractiveness was a greater predictor for electability of female candidates than male ones.
However, when teeth enter the picture, there are other factors to consider. As previously discussed in DifferenceBlog (1/17/07), women tend to have worse teeth than men cross-culturally, which may be due to hormone-related differences in saliva. Additionally, women smile more at work than men (1/24/07), which would mean women would be showing off their attractive or unattractive teeth more often.
Glied and Neidell don't seem to take actual tooth appearance into account, but just the community where someone grew up. However, I think the smile frequency, and the women's tendency to show more effect of dental risk factors, would have a greater effect. However, I would be interested to see results within a specific field, to see if the career-selection effect were as strong as suggested.
I hid my teeth a lot as a kid. To this day, there aren't a lot of pictures of me smiling with teeth, because I've been fairly ashamed of my crooked lower teeth for as long as I can remember. (Looking at pictures, my top teeth aren't anything to brag about either). My teeth crowded when I was a kid because I had a small mouth. I do smile with teeth now, but not much when I think there's a picture being taken. Actually, my self-consciousness over my teeth is one of the main factors influencing how much I like a picture of myself.
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