In cosmetic dentistry, we tend to refer to cosmetic treatments of your teeth under the label of “smile makeover.” That’s because we like to think of the positive connotations of having attractive teeth. They make you feel confident, attractive, and can serve to make connections with other people. They make you look trustworthy and can land you jobs or sales. You can win the heart of your true love with a smile, and be rewarded with their smile in return.

But smiling actually exposes your teeth the least of any of our daily activities, and it’s important to remember this when considering cosmetic dentistry.


How Much Do We Smile?

There are a number of estimates of the number of smiles the average adult shows each day. These estimates range from seven (one of which is fake) to 20, though none of them seem to be very scientifically rigorous. Let’s go with the upper estimate, and say that each smile lasts 15 seconds, another unscientific estimate that’s probably on the high side. That would mean that you spend about five minutes a day smiling.

Eating Exposes Your Teeth Much More

In contrast, we do have pretty good data about how much time we spend eating. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we spend about 1.17 hours a day eating and drinking. That’s about 14 times as long as we spend smiling. Even if your teeth are exposed for only 1/10th of that time, you’re still showing your teeth 50% more when eating than when smiling.

Conversation Exposes Your Teeth the Most

But the time we’re showing our teeth off the most is when we’re talking. The average person spends about 70-80% of their waking hours in communication, and 30% of that is talking. This means that we spend, at a minimum, three hours in conversation. Even if you are only talking half that time, you’re still spending over an hour and a half speaking.

Unlike eating and drinking, you always have your mouth open and show your teeth when you’re talking. And some sounds in English require you to show not just your front teeth, but open your mouth in such a way that all your teeth become visible, especially if you are speaking in an excited and animated way, such as when you are talking to someone you like and want to impress.

How Does This Change Your “Smile Makeover”?

Because we expose our teeth most during talking, we shouldn’t just focus on the teeth that show most when we smile. Instead, it’s important to remember that teeth in the back of our mouths might be exposed. This means that beyond the porcelain veneers used to make our smiles perfect, we have to remember the importance of replacing old fillings and crowns that can call attention to unhealthy teeth. This is what we describe as a full mouth rejuvenation.

If you are looking for comprehensive cosmetic dentistry in Hilton Head, please call (843) 706-2999 for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.