Earlier today, Paige, my number one child came up to me and asked “Dad, can we talk?”
Putting my book down, I asked how much this talk would cost me.
“It’s not about money”. She replied. And then she smiled.
Did you know that children smile on average about 400 times a day? I didn’t. And did you know that adults only smile about twenty times a day? I didn’t know that either but I do know that they don’t all work for me.
By the way, I’m not talking about a fake smile. The one that just involves the lips. I’m talking about the one which includes our eyes and raising our cheeks. The real smiles. People can tell the difference.
Paige’s was the real type. Lips, cheeks, eyes. Everything. She told me she has a new boyfriend. His name is Sven, he’s German and he’s asked her to visit him in Berlin. So Paige, still smiling and her head leaning ever so slightly to one side, was asking my permission for her to go.
In his Ted talk “The Hidden Power of Smiling,” Ron Gutman talks about the positive effects of smiling. Reducing the number of stress-related hormones like adrenalin and cortisol. Reducing blood pressure. And increasing the number of hormones that improve our moods.
Apparently, one really good smile can give us a feel-good factor equivalent to 2,000 chocolate bars! Substitute your own favourites here: Running, especially at the practice, for Jules, dancing for Debbie, anything sweet for Iva, and alcohol for Lisa. Sausage rolls for Nikoletta, sex for Maggie, and more alcohol for Lisa. Debbie’s cakes for everyone -I’ve heard that they’re delicious but I’ve never been quick enough to get any- and diet coke for Alex. Answering emails for Penny, public speaking for Andrea, cheesecake for Sue and any food for Amy. Wearing spotty undies for Kate, more sex for Maggie, camping for Dani and HTM0105 for me.
“So, what does this German boyfriend of yours look like?” I asked. But only after I’d asked the usual dad-type security questions.
“He’s blonde with blue eyes.”
“It’s gonna be interesting when he meets me then.” I half joked.
She laughed. “No, he’s not like that.”
In Richard Wiseman’s book ‘Quirkology’, researchers looked at photographs of women in a college yearbook when they were in their early twenties. Nearly all were smiling. But when they looked carefully, they noticed that about half of the photographs showed a false smile and half a genuine smile. They discovered something. Those with the real smiles were much more likely to be married, to stay married, to be happier, and to enjoy better health throughout their lives.
According to social anthropologists, smiling makes us appear less dominant and more approachable.
You get the idea. Basically, a genuine smile is pretty good for us. So why don’t we (notice I put we) do it more often?
Back to today. Anyway, I agreed to Paige visiting Sven. I know that Denise would have already said yes. So I know that I had to say yes. But I played my part well. It’s a game and it makes me feel important. And any of you girls with children probably do the same with your other halves.
“Oh, thanks dad.” She said. Cue even bigger smile.
My work was done. As head of the family, I had performed my role. And that is to pretend to be head of the family.
My point here is that smiling can be used as an act of persuasion. For someone to like us, trust us, have faith in us and even to get permission to go to Germany to stay with some random person that I’ve never met.
But it has to be a genuine smile!
Smiling is contagious. As an expert on HTM0105 I know that it’s not yet been banned.
I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to underusing it. But I promise to start from tomorrow. Just forgive me if I look silly.
Will you join me?
“Every smile makes you a day younger”
I was asked to record a short message about my experience of being the lucky winner of the High Street Practice – Gift of a Smile competition, which seemed easy enough but it was such a short window and I had so much to say. So I thought I would put into words my experience.
I remember reading the paper and seeing the competition and thinking, wow, what a fantastic prize I would love that. I know everyone dreams of winning a lovely holiday or a shiny new car but a smile, now that was different and something I would dearly love, but didn’t do anything about it.
The following week I saw the advert again and I thought to myself I would really love to win that prize and I could not stop thinking about it. 2012 was an important year for me, my daughter was due to graduate and it was my 50th birthday both big photo opportunities. All I could think about was the competition and if I had nice teeth I would be able to smile in the photo’s rather than the usual grimace that looked like I was chewing a wasp. The competition stated that you could nominate someone or nominate yourself. I decided I would rather selfishly nominate myself, so I completed my entry and sent it off never expecting to hear any more.
It was a rare weekend when my daughter was home from university when I received my letter telling me I was one of the finalists in the competition. I was so excited and when I told my daughter I was a finalist in a competition to have £10,000 of dental work she said she was really surprised that I had applied but also very pleased for me as she knew how unhappy I was about my teeth.
I was invited to visit the practice to have a dental consultation as part of the competition process. I had not been to the dentist for quite some time and was worried about the poor condition of my teeth. I must admit I was really nervous.
I recall being greeted by some of the nicest staff who were so excited for me and I was soon totally at my ease. I was shown through to the dentist and that was when I first met Jaspal Sandu the man who was behind this fantastic competition. He carried out a very thorough examination of my mouth and teeth. He asked me lots of questions about what I did and didn’t like about my teeth and what my expectations were. He was lovely and made me feel totally comfortable to be able to speak about my teeth and the problems I had.
I must admit I did enjoy the examination as it not only covered the condition of my teeth but also the health of my mouth and we spoke about mouth cancer which was not something I had previously thought about. The x-rays that were taken revealed the true horror my teeth and I remember thinking that there was a lot of work required and I could not expect to win. If nothing else, I had had a very thorough examination and discussion about oral health and left the practice feeling very upbeat as it had been a most pleasant and informative experience.
I remember quite clearly the day I received the telephone call to say that I was the winner of the competition. I have never won anything before and this for me was just the best prize I could have won, I was ecstatic. Then the reality kicked in and I thought, what was I doing, I hate going to the dentist and my mind was filled with horrible thoughts of drills, injections and discomfort. I then thought about the dental practice and how lovely everyone had been and how comfortable I had felt. The practice had been so professional yet caring and it was this thought that re-assured me and made me realise how very lucky I was.
A treatment plan was created for me that entailed teeth whitening, replacement white fillings, new crowns, and a replacement bridge.
Never once in all my appointments did I feel uncomfortable or in any pain. In fact I really used to look forward to my appointments as I could very soon see the improvement with my teeth. I recall on one occasion I was so comfortable and relaxed that Jas had ask me to open my mouth wider as I was actually biting down on his finger as I was drifting off.
I must mention the lovely Alex who replaced my fillings. She has such a passion for what she does and really takes such a great pride in her work. She is such a credit to the practice.
I cannot tell you what a difference having this treatment has made to me. I was always reluctant to smile as I thought people would be looking at my teeth, but now I smile at any given opportunity. As for having photographs taken I can now step forward without any hesitation giving my biggest cheesiest grin. Not a day goes by when I don’t give myself a great big smile in the mirror just to make sure that it was not just a dream and yes I do have a great smile.
I am very fortunate to have won this prize and not a day goes by when I don’t acknowledge that fact. I can only encourage other people who have been worried about having dental treatment and perhaps like me had neglected their dental health to visit the dental practice to find out how they can help you. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised and might even leave with a smile on your face.
I would like to close by saying a big thank you to all the staff at the practice; you have all made my experience an amazing one for which I am truly grateful.