smileLets support dentistry’s brand, the smile, and get behind National Smile Month, Michael Watson says.

So here we are, beginning of National Smile Month, and some clever researchers come up with the idea that smiling makes you look older.

According to a report in The Times the ‘misconception’ that smiling makes people look younger is causing millions of social media users to post ageing photos of themselves online.

Researchers in Canada and Israel studied a group of 40 participants, who were asked to guess the ages of 35 men and 35 women from photographs of their faces, some showing them smiling and others with neutral expressions.

The results revealed that, on average, the participants rated the people as being about a year older when they were smiling.

Despite this, after the experiment most of the participants said they believed that smiling made you look younger.

The researchers found that people appeared significantly older when they smiled because of the display of wrinkles around their eyes.

But The Times report mentions an earlier study, which categorised 230 photographs of US baseball players featured in the 1952 Baseball Register.

Of the 184 players who had since died, the non-smilers had lived to an average age of 73, those with partial smiles had lived to 75 and those with the biggest smiles had lived to 80.


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Dentistry’s brand

A healthy, attractive smile is part of dentistry’s brand.

Many practices incorporate the word, smile, into their name.

There were plenty of smiles in evidence when the Oral Health Foundation launched this year’s National Smile Month, which runs from 14 May to 14 June.

Its website (www.nationalsmilemonth.org/impact-national-smile-month) points out that it acts as ‘the spearhead campaign’ for providing organised activities such as fun days, talks, sponsored events, roadshows, displays, open sessions and competitions – ‘all which have the ultimate goal of engaging people in the importance of oral health’.

So let’s support our smile brand and ignore the merchants of gloom who say it makes us look older.