You might think flaunting your pearly whites is the best way to charm your social circles, but scientists say less-is-more when it comes to the perfect smile.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota recently used 3D animation to produce facial models capturing various types of smiles. Then they asked 802 participants to rate each one based on genuineness, pleasantness and overall effectiveness at conveying emotion. The results suggest that there's a smile "sweet spot" that balances tooth exposure and mouth angle.
The best smiles showed a little teeth instead of stretching the lips back as far as they go. Big toothy grins read like a bad poker face. Symmetry is also key since balanced smiles rated better than smirks or other lopsided expressions showing disproportionate amounts of teeth or pulling the lips back at different angles.
And like everything else in life, timing is crucial. The best smiles saw the left and right side of the face synch in symmetry within 125 milliseconds. So if you're desperate to impress at a big networking event, you might want to stand in front of the mirror with a stopwatch and get your grin in game shape.
For more details on what makes the perfect smile, check out the full study here.