Bupa UK reveals that more than a third of people never smile at a stranger before 9am and of those that do, only one in three people smile once a day. As National Smile Month draws to a close, research also shows that a smile from a stranger has more impact than good weather when it comes to Brits raising a smile. People in Newcastle share the most smiles, with a third smiling at a stranger at least once a day before 9am.  This is in contrast to Belfast and Glasgow, where only 12% and 13% of people offer up a smile.

The main reasons people hold back are a lack of confidence and feeling awkward, therefore making smiles a private affair. More than one in ten people (12%) said feeling self-conscious about their teeth stopped them from smiling at strangers.

This research comes as Bupa UK looks to raise awareness of how a genuine smile has the potential to lift your mood and improve peoples’ capacity for dealing with stressful situations.

Dr Steve Preddy, Clinical Dental Director Bupa UK, says, “It’s not just how a smile looks, it’s the feeling it gives you. Early mornings may not be everyone’s favourite time, but smiling puts you in the right frame of mind to address the working day.

“As a dentist, I care about people’s broader wellbeing and teeth can give you a real insight into a person’s mental state. Good dentists can identify underlying issues like anxiety, with teeth grinding and surface cracks an indicator of stress. That’s why I encourage regular check-ups, to give people the confidence they need to smile every day.”

Seeing something funny (20%) and receiving a compliment (11%) are further reasons for smiling before work. While, women offer more smiles to strangers on a weekly basis than men, and 45-54 year olds give the most smiles each day.