The UK's leading oral health charity has backed research that says smiling can give more pleasure than sex or chocolate - but added that people need to keep their smile looking its best for maximum effect.
The British Dental Health Foundation, co-ordinators of National Smile Week (May 15-21) - the biggest oral health event in the UK calendar - spoke after scientists revealed that a smile gives the same level of stimulation as eating 2,000 chocolate bars or receiving £16,000 in cash.
The clinical tests, carried out on volunteers in Scotland, measured brain and heart activity as participants were shown pictures of people smiling and given money and chocolate.The results were analysed by psychologist Dr David Lewis, the author of The Secret Language of Success, who said that seeing a smile creates what is termed as a "halo" effect, helping us to remember other happy events more vividly, feel more optimistic, more positive and more motivated.
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, commented: "We have long been drawing attention to the fact that smiling increases happiness both in yourself and those around you, so it is good to receive the backing of this scientific research.
"A healthy smile can improve your confidence, help you make friends and help you to succeed in your career, so you need to keep it looking its best."
A good oral health routine, including brushing twice-a-day with fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on the frequency of sugary foods and drinks and visiting your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, will help to keep your smile looking healthy.
"Hopefully this research will get more people thinking about their oral health. After all, a smile is a wonderful thing - and worth maintaining!"
The study was conducted by Hewlett Packard.