Ms. Cara Mund of North Dakota was named the 2018 Miss America a few hours ago. The above image shows her along with some of the other contestants.
You'll notice Cara Mund and a good share of her colleagues are "smiling" in a particular manner - with their lower teeth exposed. However, these smiles are not sincere (aka a "Duchenne smile").
A sincere smile (with a few, minor exceptions) should not display any bottom teeth. It's important to stress that this does not imply that these women are overall, insincere people. But if we want to project sincerity in the moment (and shouldn't we all?) - and more importantly, to truly be sincere - then we should all endeavor to use the "control panel" of our emotions and moods - our face.
You may remember from picture day in elementary school when the photographer said, "say cheese" - which, of course, exposed our lower teeth. For many of us, this event is when cross-wiring of false smiling began. And yet if you never had such a school picture experience, no doubt you've fallen for this misinformation by simple diffusion.
With the exception of smiling in the context of laughing (either crescendoing to, or decrescendoing from sincere laughter) or with certain visual perspectives (tilting one's head down, a downward looking camera angle or taller person) - displaying lower teeth while smiling is emotional hyperbole. It's melodramatic overkill. It shouldn't be done.
What has made this problem even worse in the past thirty or forty years - is with the near ubiquity of orthodontics and teeth whitening in many countries - some people feel the need to let you see all thirty-two of their teeth. Although they may not be aware of it, they're very much saying, "I'm just pretending to like you".
If you want to project a true, sincere smile - and one that will even make you feel joyful simply by forming it, try the following technique:
1. Think of some activity, event, or person who truly brings you joy.
2. Don't smile with your mouth - smile with your eyes. That is to say - smile with your eyes first - and your mouth will follow. Also, don't try to smile with your eyes and mouth simultaneously.
3. Once you're smiling with your eyes (the most important part of any sincere smile) - your lower face will naturally form a "mouth smile".
4. Only after the first three steps are accomplished, try retracting your jaw (pulling it backward). Although this fourth step is not necessary, you'll find it often deepens and prolongs smiling.
Congratulations Ms. Cara Mund.
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