Your smile often provides strangers’ first glimpse into your character. Myriad studies show that aesthetically pleasing smiles create different perceptions than misaligned ones. And many more studies attempt to establish what constitutes an “aesthetically pleasing” smile.
While cosmetic dentistry primarily provides self-confidence and improved self-image, it also changes how you interact with others. In this blog,we cover the top six perceptions created by your smile.
Nonverbal cues control more behaviors than you might think. A 2012 study entitled “Walk to Me When I Smile, Step Back When I’m Angry,” revealed that emotional expressions encourage specific behaviors, primarily approach and avoidance. In simple terms, when you smile, you look welcoming, approachable, and attractive.
Another 2012 study on smile perception called “Behind the Smile” showed that Americans are 57% more likely to view the dating profile of a person with an attractive smile. The same study showed that close to 40% of Americans would decline a second date with someone who had crooked teeth.
“Behind the Smile” revealed that strangers are 21% more likely to perceive someone with straight teeth as happy. Why does that matter? Well, happy people appear stronger, more confident, more successful, and even sexier.
Smiling comes with a range of health benefits, from decreased blood pressure to endorphin-related pain relief. But an aesthetically pleasing smile also changes the way people perceive your health status. According to “Behind the Smile,” your health looks 47% better if you have an attractive smile.
Health and vitality make individuals more promising job candidates and potential romantic partners. This comes from the fact that healthy people tend to live longer, more active lives than the chronically ill.
Just as you may associate certain accents and styles of clothing with a lack of education, Americans as a whole link unpleasing smiles to lower intelligence and education. This likely stems from the widespread availability of cosmetic dentistry procedures.
When people see a misaligned smile, many subconsciously assume it results from an inability to have orthodontic and cosmetic procedures. While in reality this may be a matter of preference or occupation, many Americans view misalignment as a sign of diminished intelligence. “Behind the Smile” shows that people are 38% more likely to view someone with straight teeth as intelligent.
We’ve established that a beautiful smile makes you look happy. But that perceived happiness goes even farther. People often assume happiness results from success at home and at work. Data from “Behind the Smile” shows that people with straight teeth look more likely to land jobs and more likely to achieve success in their field.
In reality, happiness doesn’t result from success. However, success can come from happiness (hence the perceived correlation). According to research compiled by Action for Happiness in 2013, happy people exhibit more creativity, faster reactions, better awareness, and greater longevity than their sad or neutral counterparts.
Last, but certainly not least, a beautiful smile primes you to develop strong relationships. Why? A simple smile prompts empathy from those around you. An aesthetically pleasing smile encourages trust. In fact, the individuals polled in “Behind the Smile,” were 73% more likely to trust someone with an attractive smile than individuals with other markers of success like nice cars or desirable jobs.