World Smile Day – what really lies behind the Aussie grin?

5 October 2018

A new survey, The Australian Camera-Ready Smile, by the Oral Health Advisory Panel (OHAP) on World Smile Day, held since 1999 in honour of the creator of the famous Smile Face icon, Harvey Ball, paints a revealing picture of how Australians view their smiles. 

In overall terms, 57% of people think the smile is the most appealing thing about someone else's selfie with 48% rating it as the important feature of an attractive selfie. 

But for all the importance we attach to smiles, the reality is that 58% of us are reticent to show our teeth when we smile, with more than two million Australians not comfortable with how they look, a fact which didn’t surprise Christine Morris, OHAP member and Public Health Consultant. 

“We were alarmed, but not really surprised, by the number of people who are not confident with how their teeth look. We’ve long been aware that good oral health is key to good self-esteem, and these survey results demonstrate that.” 

Beyond the wattage and attractiveness of a smile, these results illustrate the major role that good oral health plays in a person’s self-esteem and how important it is to maintain good oral hygiene every day of your life, selfies or no selfies. 

It’s something the ADA consistently emphasises throughout the year, and particularly during its annual oral health promotion Dental Health Week (the first full week of August each year) or through Australia’s Oral Health Tracker which reveals how parlous the state of the country’s oral health is overall. 

The Australian Camera-Ready Smile survey draws much-needed attention to the issue of oral health with Christine Morris underlining that it's important this happens not just on World Smile Day but over the full course of a person’s life. 

“World Smile Day ... is a timely reminder that establishing a good oral health regime, which includes regular visits to an oral health professional, not only helps to create a beautiful camera-ready smile. More importantly, it will help to ensure a healthy smile for years to come.”