Experts reveal smiling more will make us live longer but with one third of Americans unhappy with their smile how can we give ourselves the confident boost we desperately need?

According to a recent TED talk, kids smile an incredible 400 times a day; adults in contrast, only smile a dismal 20 times a day. In one study which asked participants why they didn’t smile as much as they thought they should, over half said it was because they were unhappy with their teeth and felt self-conscious. At Riverside Dental, one Norwich Dentist conducting a Smile Survey found the results showed that 90% of his patients wanted whiter teeth.

And the statistics don’t stop there. One third of Americans, often stereotyped for their confidence, are apparently unhappy with their smile according to a study commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists. These few facts got me thinking about how much I smiled myself which I admit may have led me to wandering around all day with my mouth in a permanent grin as if my lips were made out of concrete.

On further inspection, it wasn’t such a bad idea after all, and from another Google I stumbled across a newspaper article claiming that those with a happier disposition are more likely to live longer than those that don’t. Now if there was ever a reason to smile, surely that would be it? Smile or die. Slightly extreme, but apparently not entirely untrue! The newspaper described a group of experts at Wayne University in Michigan discovered this during a bizarre experiment which involved studying 230 pictures of major league baseball players printed in the 1952 baseball register. Every picture in the register came alongside all the vital statistics for each player including the all-important age, weight, and height and so on. The experts then ranked each player by their smiles and laughter lines, ranging from no smile to partial smile and then to those displaying a full blown grin. They compared this chart with the lifespan of each player to reach their final conclusion.

And I’m not out of teeth-related stats just yet… In research conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry the data revealed that virtually all adults (99.7%) believe a smile is an important social asset. A fact which, you have to admit, makes sense. Results also showed that 96% of adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to members of the opposite sex. This again, also makes sense. In the same study nearly three-quarters (74%) of adults felt that an unattractive smile could damage a person’s chance for career success. When participants of the survey were asked, “what would you like to improve most about your smile?” The most common response was: whiter and brighter teeth.

Well blow me down. So we don’t smile enough but if we did we could live longer, potentially enhance our careers and our relationships? It sounds like a no-brainer. Although the state of your teeth shouldn’t really hold you back, there are always solutions you could turn to that don’t necessarily have to cost an arm and a leg. Well I would hope not anyway. If you are not happy with your fangs, teeth whitening may be a good first step. But even if you’re not on a Hollywood salary there are active steps you can take to prevent losing that pearly white set you were born with as well as improving what you’ve got. Those include changing diet, drinking less carbonated drinks, coffee, tea and breaking habits such as smoking. Appreciated all the former involve a fair amount of will power so it’s understandable that many people opt for slightly more effortless options. The most obvious is simply to brush and floss more regularly. Us humans are busy folk and tend to skip mundane tasks in order to tackle more pressing engagements, but fitting in 5 minutes of solid graft on those pegs after meals could give you the edge to push you closer towards those incandescent ivory incisors you’ve always wanted. Another cheaper alternative could be purchasing a highly recommended and more-expensive-than-your-average whitening toothpaste or even whitening chewing gum for those with a hectic lifestyle.

If none of those ideas float your boat then a whitening procedure shouldn’t be sniffed at, if not for the fact that they’re the quickest and easiest solution but also because they’re the most effective if you’re looking for instant results.  You don’t even have to have it done in the dentist’s surgery, for those that are cheering at this right now – you’re an adult, it’s only a little dentist chair nothing to be afraid of! Honestly. This procedure is simply home whitening, which can be done either during the day or throughout the night. The dentist will make a specially moulded tray for your teeth so that they can sit in the gel. Think of it as giving your ivories a bath, a quick wash and out they come looking spick and span. Hey-presto! It is important to note that you would have to do this for 14 days, whereas the other two slightly more expensive treatments, Assisted Deep Bleaching and In-surgery Power Bleaching take only an hour. The procedures are both carried out in a single session and involve your dentist applying whitening gel to your teeth and then using a small handheld light or laser to activate and speed up the bleaching process. So, there we have it; various solutions that will make your smile go miles and who knows, maybe you’ll even live longer.

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