One More Reason to Smile

Smiling. For some of us, it comes as naturally as breathing, and believe it or not, it has almost as many benefits, too! For example, studies have shown that being smiled at by a stranger can improve your mood – and make you want to smile back. Smiling has even been found to boost the immune system, and people who smile often live an average of seven years longer than people who don’t. With all that’s known about the benefits of a simple smile, it’s a wonder more of us aren’t grinning ear-to-ear all the time.

Unfortunately, for some people, frequent smiling doesn’t come as easily as it should, especially for people who are not happy with their smile. A recent study by international health care group Bupa found that 81 percent of respondents were unhappy with their smile in photographs, and if given the chance, 42 percent would change their smile before anything else. The same study found that 28 percent of respondents simply choose not to show their smile in photos and on social media.

But another new report may just be the motivation they need to change.

According to a report by the University of York in England, smiling in your passport photo or photo-identification software could help thwart identity theft. The study claims that although people still struggle to match unsmiling identification photos with their human counterparts, when presented with smiling photos, it was much easier.

But what about those people who don’t like their smile?

“This is one more compelling reason to consider full-mouth reconstruction,” says Dr. Alexandra George, a dentist based in Wexford, Pennsylvania. “There are already so many reasons to restore your smile for health; to be able to use a healthy smile to protect yourself against identity theft is just icing on the cake.”

If your smile isn’t quite ready for its closeup, don’t fret. George says full-mouth reconstruction can be done in as little as a few months depending on the amount of correction needed, and many official photos don’t allow a smile – yet. But following the University of York report, that could all begin to change soon.

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on August 2nd, 2018