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September’s the unofficial beginning of a new year (officially in the Jewish calendar), and that means new beginnings, which often means meeting new people and a first impression.

Now, of course we’d say that the healthy smile is the best way to make a first impression. But so did researchers at Kelton Global, who discovered in 2011 that a healthy, beautiful smile is one of the most important factors in a good first impression.

They’ll Remember That Grin at Your First Impression

Kelton surveyed more than 1,000 people about what characteristic stood out the most when first meeting someone, and 48% responded with a smile — nearly twice as many as those who chose the first words spoken. And a quarter of those surveyed said they actually had less confidence in people with unhealthy teeth.

Eye contact and body language play their part, but a beautiful smile is what will stick with people. It’s not just superficiality. A quick smile will trigger plenty of inferences about who you are, and those snap judgements can be tricky to change.

What Your Smile Says

We’ve talked about the psychology of smiles before. But there are other ways that people read your smile, regardless of its type or intended meaning. Healthy teeth indicate a healthy, proactive person — that is, someone who cares about their body and is willing to put in a bit of extra effort to keep it operating at its best.

The opposite is also true: unhealthy teeth can show people a lack of effort or commitment. After all, if you can’t even be bothered to brush, why should that person trust you with other responsibilities? Good hygiene is a simple way to reassure others that you care.

Find Your Confidence

Just as important as your pearly whites is the confidence needed to share them proudly. That confidence comes from loving your unique smile. Teeth come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes they grow in their own special way. As long as your smile is healthy and comfortable, you shouldn’t fret over the odd snaggletooth. With regular brushing and flossing, along with a trip to the dentist now and then, your smile will shine.

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