Grin and Bare It
A smile may not get you into the movies, but it's a surefire way to beat the blues
From pool parties to nights on the patio, summer is prime time for great spirits. But, if you've got a case of the summertime blues, then using the 1 7 muscles it takes to smile may seem like a super-workout. Research suggests, however, that smiling can actually make you feel better, since it releases a brain chemical that helps to reduce the body's stress level. Well, score one for the gals, as studies show that women smile more than men. "Probably because, throughout history, women have been expected to be more accommodating," says Bart Testa, who teaches cinema studies and semiotics at the University of Toronto. Men, on the other hand, have been socially conditioned to think of smiles as feminine. 'You wouldn't catch an image of an ancient Roman, or any official male throughout history, smiling. It was regarded as a foolish indulgence," confirms Testa.
In our celebrity-crazed world, the smile is a lethal weapon in a rising star's arsenal. Would Tom Cruise have any star power without his toothy grin? Could Julia Roberts command $20 million a flick without flashing her pearly whites?
But can mere mortals get by with a sly Mona Lisa smile in place of the 100-watter? Nix, according to a study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, which reported that 75 percent of North Americans believe that an unattractive smile can be an obstacle to career success. Seems like Roberts isn't the only one with a money smile.
Does your smile need attention?
Take this smile quiz by Dr. Edward Philips of The Studio Aesthetic Dentistry in Toronto
Score two points for each yes answer and zero points for each no answer.
- Do the edges of your upper teeth follow the curve of your lower lip?
- Are your two front teeth identical in shape?
- Are your front teeth (individually) noticeably longer than they are wide?
- Is your smile free of any gaps or twisted teeth?
- Do you like the colour of your teeth?
10 You have a gorgeous smile! Don't change a thing.
6-8 You have a good smile, but there's room for improvement.
0-4 Your smile needs attention. You may benefit from having a smile-analysis consultation with a cosmetic dentist.
Surf to these smile-friendly Websites:
The Studio for Aesthetic Dentistry: www.smilejob.com
Canadian Dental Association: www.cda-adc.ca