Smile like you mean it…

Until I began my aligner journey, I didn’t realize how little I actually smiled with my teeth.

Whether it was the dark shadows on my veneers or the many photos I’ve taken over the years and gone … “do I really look like that?”

I realized I had become a closed-mouth smiler.

And thanks to Tyra Banks for popularizing the “smize” – this seemed good enough for me.

But something started to happen a few weeks ago… I realized, I have been smiling with my teeth. At some point, on some zoom call, I looked at my “reflection” and thought “hey – that’s starting to look pretty good.” And since then, I’ve been smiling more.

When I brought up my veneer shadow, Dr. Crutchfield informed me it was because my smile was becoming more broad (something I had always hoped for) and that the teeth were refracting light better. To which all I could say was “I LOVE IT.”

But I realized, I think I’ve forgotten how to really smile for a camera

And not everyone can smolder like Renee… I mean. Come on.

So, I bring you – the top tips (after researching them, duh) for smiling.

Don’t over smile.

Meaning, don’t clench your teeth down and squint your eyes. While you may be feeling a good guffaw, and those smiles are great for candid shots at weddings, if you’re going for a professional headshot, this approach doesn’t show off your best smile.

Engage your eyes.

Be aware of your cheek muscles and how they look when you apply different tension. Practice only smiling with your mouth. Then smile again thinking of a happy thought and engaging your eyes and forehead. Trust me, you can see a difference.

Wet your teeth.

Running your tongue across your upper and lower teeth before you take a picture helps keep your lips from sticking. It can also help your teeth look shinier.

Clench and release.

I know I just said not to clench your teeth, but stay with me here. Clenching down and then releasing your jaw can help you have a more defined jawline and will relax your face muscles for a more relaxed look.

Plant your tongue. 

If you’re worried about a little double chin, lifting your tongue to the roof of your mouth can do wonders for toning up skin. Simply smile and press the center of your tongue up on the roof of your mouth.

Leave a gap.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been using those aligner “chewies” to help my trays fit more tight, but leaving a gap between your back teeth, and tilting your head slightly down to hide the opening, can leave a relaxed and more effortless look. It’ll also make your head look taller and skinnier (and, who doesn’t love that?)

Can you figure out which number correlates to which smile? Is it time I gave up my closed mouth grin? I think so!