Science confirms what ten minutes gazing at Chris Hemsworth’s chiseled features will tell you – a person’s face is the primary way that we judge attractiveness. Our eyes are trained to be drawn to the masculine features of strong cheekbones and square jaw lines in the male face. Along with Chris, one glance at Hugh Jackman or Henry Cavil and you’ll see the same pattern of striking cheek and jawbones.

Turns out, we’re not just being superficial. What’s happening here is our evolutionary instinct judging the genes of facial features because they communicate good health. Why? Chris’ well-defined cheek and jaw line means the bones of his face are properly developed.

The Implications of Your Face Shape

jawline health

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These bones also house many of the crucial structures that support our airways, like the nasal sinuses, palate, tongue and throat. When they’re underdeveloped, airway issues like mouth breathing and sleep apnea can starve the body of oxygen, leading to chronic health problems. And that just wouldn’t work for Thor.

The other features that these bones affect are the teeth. Yep, if you suffered through braces as a kid or had impacted wisdom teeth, this means you. People with well-formed facial bones provide enough space to have straight and strong smiles. Whilst this in itself is a feature we find attractive, it’s closely related to appearance of the face.

When a dentist sees crooked smiles and impacted wisdom teeth, they also see long, skinny faces with underdeveloped chin and jaws. All of these signs point to facial bones that don’t support airways… and are probably why a good smile is seen as an attractive feature.

Diet and Facial Structure

What’s most interesting though is that the facial development is closely linked to what you ate when you were growing up. Bone growth occurs in response to muscular mechanical forces. Just like body builders who make strong, dense limbs to lift enormous weights, our shift from a naturally tough diet to soft processed foods prevents normal jaw and skull growth.

As in any other aspects of human growth and development, nutrition plays a role in the formation of teeth and bones. As these bones are developing they require a complex concentration of ‘bony matrix’, which comprises of the minerals calcium and phosphorus, organic materials, water and fat. This is also mediated by the fat-soluble vitamins D and K2, amongst others that allow mineral absorption from the blood stream.

People with classically well-developed facial features communicate their top genetic health via their magnificent faces and smiles. Whilst orthodontic braces and wisdom teeth surgeries patch up issues associated with poor facial growth, we may in fact be covering up more serious diet and health issues.

So what foods are good for faces? Ones that make you chew, like a serving of raw fruit and vegetables a day. Then plenty of bone building elements from calcium rich sources like salmon, almonds and kale. And don’t forget to top it off with enough dietary fat and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K2 from sources like quality butter, organ meats, avocados and eggs.

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Dr. Steven Lin
Board Registered Dentist
Dr Steven Lin is a practicing board accredited dentist, writer and speaker. As passionate health educator, Dr Lin works to merge the fields of dental and nutritional science to show how the mouth is an integral part of our overall health. As a TEDx speaker his work has been featured on influential health websites such as MindBodyGreen and Dr Lin is now working on his own publication ‘The Dental Diet’ an exploration of how food is the foundation of oral health.