The most genuine smile in the world is the smile of a young child. We react to it. Research has been shown that we get the same level of stimulation from that smile as what we’d get if we ate 2,000 chocolate bars or received $15,000 in cash. That’s a powerful smile. In fact, most real smiles are powerful even if they don’t reach the candy bar comparison. But, how do you tell when a smile is real? Here are 5 things that may give it away.
1. All Those Muscles. Smiling uses 80 facial muscles – think of it as exercise for your face! Usually we see it as our lips stretching out and turning up. It’s that happy face! Even more amazing is that people recognize that you’re smiling from as far away as the length of a football field and they recognize it in just 3 seconds. But, do you mean it?
2. All Those Smiles. Facial expression experts have identified over 50 different types of smiles. We don’t just smile when we’re happy. We might smile to cover embarrassment. Or we might smile to hide our annoyance. Or, we could be expressing one of a dozen positive emotions expressed by various smiles. So, how do you know what that smile is telling you?
3. Eyes Have It. Experts say that you should look up at the eyes to judge a smile. You’re looking for a zygomatic smile, one that involves the zygomatic muscle which runs from the cheekbone to the corner of the lip. The lips smile and cheekbones seem to rise. But, we can control that part of our face so check the eyes. Look for those little wrinkles around the eyes. You may hate your crows’ feet but they may be the sign of a very happy life. But, that’s not enough. A “real” smile lowers the brow and makes the eyes seem smaller. So, check out what the muscles around the eye socket are doing.
4. The Wave. You did at the big game and your face does it when you smile. A smile seems to move from a small movement of the lips to lifting your cheeks and the side of your face and moving on to the eyebrows. If you put your hands on the side of your face and smile, you can feel part of that wave.
5. Show and Tell. You meet a friend. She or he smiles. You ask your friend how they are and they answer “OK”. What does that tell you about the smile? It’s probably not as sincere as when a friend replies “I’m great – how about you” while the smile grows even wider. The voice is a giveaway. Think it over. You probably know when you’re on your cell phone if the person at the other end is smiling or not.
There are great reasons to smile in every day – the green of the trees, the clouds in the sky, that cute toddler in the grocery store line. Some reasons are better than others – the huge from your own child or the person you love, but they all probably evoke real smiles. Unfortunately, there are also reasons not to smile. You’re mad. You’re sad. You don’t feel good. Work was frustrating. You don’t want anyone to really see your mouth and teeth. If the last reason has you covering up your smile – don’t let it. Today, your dental office has all the tools to make your smile bright and happy. From teeth whitening to implants that replace a failed tooth with one that looks real and functions just like a real tooth. Don’t wait and don’t hide your smile. See your dentist and find out that today’s cosmetic dentistry gives you something to smile about!