For Americans, it’s a smile that’s worth a thousand words

Wherever we travel, live or work, Americans rely on the good-old-fashioned smile to talk to people. We smile to say hello, goodbye, to excuse ourselves and even when we’re embarrassed. We also look to the smile to get cues about how others are feeling, from a frown to indicate unhappiness to a wide grin signaling happiness or humor. Perhaps it’s because generally, we’re more emotive, and it surfaces the loudest through our mouths. The Japanese, on the other hand, look to the eyes to tell the whole truth, says researcher Masaki Yuki, a behavioral scientist at Hokkaido University in Japan. They feel that the eyes tell the real story because eye muscles are harder to control and manipulate than mouth muscles. The Japanese culture also largely respects conformity, humbleness and emotional suppression, so they tend to be more subdued when it comes to displaying their emotions. No matter where you are in the world, or how you smile, keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape with these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Oral Health:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Floss once a day.
  • See your dentist for regular checkups.
  • Stay away from tobacco.
  • Eat healthy and avoid snacking on too many sweet or starchy foods.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks – heavy drinking increases the likelihood of developing oral and throat cancers.

Along with adopting healthy habits, perhaps the best way to improve your smile is simply to remember that there’s nothing more perfect than a heartfelt grin.


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