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What your smile says

The smile is one of the most commonly recognised facial features that spans cultures across the globe. Associated with happiness, wellbeing and joy, it’s an inextricable link that ties humanity together.

But did you know over recent years, researchers have documented between five and 50 types of smiles, with some studies going further to explain only six represent actual happiness?

Here’s a breakdown of the top five types of smiles, and what your smile says about you.

The Duchenne smile

The Holy Grail of all smiles possible, the Duchenne smile says your genuinely happy. First documented by 19th Century neurologist Duchenne de Boulogne, this is the smile that cannot be contained. It’s readily identified by the features of upturned corners of the mouth and “narrowed, happy eyes that leave wrinkles, or ‘crow’s feet’,” Psychology Today explains.

The fake smile

This is the smile rolled out for school photo’s, social media profiles and all those occasions where you “should” be seen smiling.

Although close to the real thing, experts say the fake smile can be spotted by the lack of eye involvement. It can often be used for other purposes such as to display confidence or put people at ease.

The uncomfortable smile

We’ve all been there…smiling politely at an inappropriate joke. Well chances are people can spot it through your uncomfortable smile.

This smile says you are masking your true feelings. Often a quick, closed-lip smile, it’s like a nod to the fact someone else finds something amusing.

The smug smile

“I know something you don’t know,” that’s what the smug smile artfully says. It often presents with lips closed and a half smile, but it’s meaning can also extend to arrogance, bemusement, flirtation and even contempt.

The true meaning is usually conveyed in the eyes.

The flirtatious smile

Usually reserved for the early days of courting, the flirtatious smile is carefully crafted to make the bearer appear attractive. It’s appealing yet a little mysterious and often accompanied by an opportune sideways glance.

The final grin

Further studies go on to illustrate there are a host of identified smiles dedicated to almost every occasion known to man. From qualifier smiles that people offer when delivering bad news, to old friend smiles that have the hidden message of “I’ve missed you”, the smile sees much column space devoted to deciphering its meaning.

The resounding message is that the smile is inextricably linked to how we communicate as human beings. And, if you’ve got a great one it’s worth flaunting, because even more research indicates the very act of smiling works to make you feel happy, and elicits happiness in those around you.

About Norwest Orthodontics

Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.

We also have a suite of treatments available that include discrete, removeable Invisalign braces, and welcome the opportunity to work with you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

You can learn more about our services, or contact us to make an appointment.


What your smile says

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