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May is National Smile Month. Learn some fun facts about smiles here.

Did you know? Smile fun facts for National Smile Month

May 16, 2024
Did you know that smiles are contagious, or that a smile can raise your self-esteem? That toothy grin will help you celebrate National Smile Month, so say "cheese!"

I took some time to research the history of smiles for May, which is National Smile Month. The power of our smiles cannot be overemphasized. They put people at ease, and smiling is one of the most important nonverbal skills people possess.

I also learned that people did not smile in portraits or photos in the "olden days" because at that time, smiles were equated with madness, insanity, drunkenness, lewdness or childishness. Toothy grins were frowned upon until the beginning of the 20th century. Tooth decay was rampant, and until I did my research for this article, I really hadn’t thought about the fact many folks had lots of tooth decay and missing teeth. 

All of this changed with the advent of the Kodak Brownie camera, the motion picture industry, and of course, better dentistry. As teeth improved and smiles becamse prettier, smiling in photos was acceptable, and people moved from being told to say "prune" for their photos, to saying "cheese!"

These are just a few of the fun things I learned about smiles. Check out my full blog to read them all.

  • We are unique in the animal kingdom, only humans smile. Animals do grin—from fear.
  • Thirty percent of Americans show their canine teeth when they smile.
  • Only 67% turn up the corners of their mouth when they smile.
  • Liars smile bigger; they want you to believe them.
  • Smiles tell people you are nonthreatening.
  • Smiling is the most important nonverbal communication skill people possess.
  • Smiling has a profound effect on the reward part of the brain.

Barbara Tritz, MSB, BSDATE, BRDH, is a biological dental hygienist and orofacial myofunctional therapist whose blog, Queen of Dental Hygiene, provides patients the information they need to help them on their healing journey. “Our one-hour appointment time was just not long enough to share all the many important facts I wanted our patients to learn. Dental hygiene is about so much more than just teaching brushing and flossing," says Barbara. “We are healers, educators, and lifesavers, and we need to give our patients the tools and skills to empower them to true wellness and health.”

About the Author

Barbara Tritz, MSB, BSDATE, BRDH

Barbara Tritz, MSB, BSDATE, BRDH, is a practicing biological dental hygienist at Green City Dental in Edmonds, Washington. She is the owner of Washington Oral Wellness in Kirkland, Washington, where she practices orofacial myofunctional therapy. She completed her accreditation in biological dental hygiene through the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, and is laser certified through the Academy of Laser Dentistry. In 2019 Barbara received the HuFriedy-American Dental Hygienist Association Master Clinician Award. Barbara can be contacted at [email protected].