Scientists discover the secret to a perfect smile

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Researchers have revealed the formula for the perfect smile after conducting analysis of reactions from more than 800 people to 3D-generated smile images.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota showed 802 people a number of computer-generated images of different smiles, and asked them to rate each one according to factors such as “effectiveness, genuineness, pleasantness and perceived emotional intent.”

Evaluation of the reactions revealed that the most successful smile was found to feature a balanced view of teeth in addition to controlled exposure of the teeth and a specific mouth angle. Smiling with the lips closed and beaming with all the teeth on show were not rated as highly. Researchers discovered that the optimum angle for the lips was between 13 and 17 degrees and the breadth of the smile was most attractive when covering 33-62 percent of the distance between the pupils of the eyes. Symmetrical smiles were also rated highly by participants.

Dr Nathaniel Helwig explained that we deem a successful smile to be one that is “effective, genuine and pleasant”, but further research has unveiled what constitutes a winning smile in greater detail. Dr Helwig stated that a “successful smile” is one that can be shown using “a variety of different spatiotemporal trajectories”, which involve a balance of mouth angle, smile width and the show of teeth in display.

The findings of the study have been published in PLOS ONE, the Public Library of Science One, a peer-reviewed open access journal.

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