They say the eyes are the window to the soul, but a smile does a lot more to communicate your confidence and personality. Smiling is a key way that people relate to each other, from beaming grins of movie stars to sweet smiles on a first date. We smile to express confidence, agreement, or just plain happiness. Clearly, smiling is an important part of your mental and social health. So, what does your smile say about you?
While smiling may be an expression of pleasure, it’s unfortunately not uncommon for people to feel insecure about their smile. Perhaps they have crooked or stained teeth, or they feel strange about how their lips or cheeks look. If you can’t allow your body’s natural impulses to occur, how can you find the true confidence you need to succeed? Research shows that people tend to judge others’ capabilities and attractiveness based on their smile. Hiding a smile or not letting it happen fully may cause others to deem you inaccessible, unfriendly, or undeserving of social reward.
By contrast, smiling genuinely and confidently — and not being afraid to show off your beautiful teeth — makes you likable, trustworthy, and inspiring. If you know that you have a great smile, you’re more likely to use it. And the more you smile, the happier you are likely to feel. Plus, you’ll feel more confident and capable when meeting new people, expressing your leadership skills, and building your friendships or relationships. A smile is the key to success in all these areas.
Types of smiles
Of course, not all smiles are made alike. Humans tend to smile in different ways depending on the situation. Researchers at Cardiff University have identified three main types of smiles.
- Reward smile. Smiling is something you do when you deliver positive feedback to others. In this type of smile, your lips pull upwards, little dimples appear at the sides of your mouth, and your eyebrows rise.
- Affiliative smile. When you like someone or want to express friendship, you tend to give a close-mouthed smile that causes dimples to form at the corners of your mouth.
- Dominance smile. Feeling confident or powerful? In this type of smile, your upper lip and cheeks raise, your nose wrinkles, and your lips protrude slightly.
There are variations on these types, but most people subconsciously identify and judge these smiles. A smile that doesn’t match the social context or seems to be missing a key component (e.g. dimples) comes off as insecure or insincere. You’re probably able to tell when someone is faking a smile. The problem is, you might be doing it yourself if you’re self-conscious about the way your smile looks.
The psychology of smiles
If done authentically, smiles attract people to you and make them want to trust you. Brilliant smiles have been linked to higher happiness, increased perceptions of leadership and skills, and a powerful sense of charisma. Whether you’re smiling from a genuine place or you’re able to convincingly fake a smile, your facial expression can make the difference in the office, when giving a presentation, on a date, or in any situation where you need to express trustworthiness and confidence.
Research shows that people look at smiles as a dominant social cue for others’ emotions and intentions. Scientists have found that people who smile regularly and genuinely tend to get more promotions, awards, and acclaim, and smiles are linked with general happiness and success. It’s unclear which comes first —smiling or happiness — but clearly, the two go hand-in-hand.
What keeps you from smiling?
Even though we know that smiling is important, too many of us are unwilling to do so. Perhaps we force a tight-lipped smile to hide our not-so-pearly whites, or we cover our mouths when we smile to avoid showing our crooked teeth. Either way, we’re coming off as insincere, judgmental, or untrustworthy — even if the emotions behind the smile are genuine. That’s why your investment in your smile is well worth the cost — and not just for the benefits of a healthy mouth.
If you’re self-conscious about your teeth, you might be hiding your smile without realizing it, and that could be holding you back from exciting opportunities or even happiness itself. Bad teeth are a confidence-killer. By investing in beautiful teeth, you’re giving yourself the chance to be happier.
Improving your smile
Notice how famous celebrities tend to have dazzling smiles and gleaming white teeth? While it might be a stretch to assume that great teeth are the reason for their success, they certainly have a lot to smile about — and they’re willing to show off their beautiful teeth.
There are many reasons we may hide our smile. Common problems include staining or discoloration, chipped, broken, or missing teeth, gaps or crowding, or unsightly fillings. Thankfully, all these issues can be fixed by a talented dentist. If you’re ready to have a celebrity-status smile, you might consider the following procedures:
- advanced cleaning and teeth whitening
- orthodontics to straighten teeth
- veneers to improve the appearance of teeth
- implants to replace missing teeth
Cosmetic dentistry procedures have become convenient and affordable, and when you think about the benefits of your newfound confidence, it’s easy to see how your new smile might pay for itself! People have reported getting promotions or new career opportunities once they upgraded their smile. Could that be you? It’s well worth the cost to be able to freely smile and express yourself.
Smiles are the true windows to the soul — and having a great smile unlocks your potential for happiness and success. When you smile genuinely and aren’t afraid to hide your pearly whites, you inspire and attract other people. A healthy, bright smile is the greatest tool for a boost in your charisma and confidence. A beautiful smile means beautiful teeth, so investing in dental health has big rewards for your mental health, social connections, and ultimate success.
If you’re ready to see how cosmetic dentistry procedures can benefit your life, it’s time to talk to a cosmetic dentist about your own smile makeover. Contact Carrie Muzny & Associates for your consultation. We’ll evaluate your unique dental needs and what you’d like to see in your smile. Then, we’ll create a plan of action to accomplish your smile goals, whether that include whitening, veneers, orthodontics, or other painless dental procedures that will turn your less-than-perfect smile into one you’ll want to show off for years to come! Give us a call to upgrade your smile and your confidence!