Fluoride Action Network


This reaction time study assessed the valence and strength of evaluations of people with differing levels of fluorosed teeth. Eighty participants rated photographs of smiling faces with four levels of digitally manipulated fluorosed teeth. Faces were presented on a computer screen for a period of 2000 ms followed by a single word descriptor. Participants quickly indicated whether the descriptor applied to the preceding face using a response key. Descriptors included health, aesthetic, and personal judgments. Logistic and linear regressions revealed that participants were significantly more likely to make negative judgments involving health, aesthetic, and person attributions about faces with high levels of fluorosis, and to make negative judgments more quickly and positive judgments more slowly than those with lower levels of fluorosis. These data are consistent with the view that people use negative, easily accessible, stereotypes of individuals presenting with health problems.