Million Dollar Smile

When you ask someone what one of the first things they notice about someone is, they’ll often say, “Their smile.” When you ask someone what physical qualities they look for in a partner, a “nice smile” is often at the top of the list. But what makes a smile “nice?” In our society, we equate a “nice” smile, or a “pretty” smile with straight, white teeth. Our kids get braces in order to straighten those crooked teeth, and those gaps in the front.

But “imperfect” smiles are no less beautiful than “perfect” ones. The uniqueness of their smiles give them character, and make them beautiful in their own way. Whether it’s a gap, pointy incisors, or a wayward tooth or two, straight teeth, all in a row are not a requirement for having a beautiful smile.

Anna Paquin:


Lauren Hutton:


Avril Lavigne:

Kirsten Dunst:

Lara Stone:

Sandra Bernhard:

Vanessa Paradis:

My friend Meg has a gap in her teeth that she loves, and I applaud her for loving it. I love it, too! And I applaud these celebrities, for refusing to bow to the pressure and standards of beauty that are forced on them, and keeping their natural teeth. They’re perfectly imperfect.

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  1. SageNo Gravatar
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Mouth and eyes are what I’d say about what physical features I liked best and noticed first. The thing about smiles is when their eyes and mouth smiles, in my opinion, and not their teeth.

  2. JessNo Gravatar
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    I adore smiles with a gap. There is something so endearing, genuine, and unpretentious about a smile with a gap. I remember wishin I had one when I was younger.

  3. JNo Gravatar
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    Society/culture”s view on smiles is definitely as you said.

    Also, people themselves have different taste in smiles, too. I would guess that if you ask people to quantify what they like about a particular person’s, they’ll often have a hard time with it and revert to: “It just fits them.” (I’m guilty of this.)

    Personally, I think the phrase “A nice smile” is used in place of “A smile that I [the speaker] like looking at.”

  4. EveNo Gravatar
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    This made me very happy.

    I have really wacky teeth. My lower teeth in front are really crooked because they don’t fit, and I have peg teeth on either side of my upper two front teeth (they’re tiny, about the same size as baby teeth) which make for some big gaps. I’ve never felt bad about them, but it’s always nice when somebody recognizes that teeth don’t have to be straight or conventionally shaped to make a pretty smile. My teeth have character. :)

    Maybe I’ll post a picture.

  5. MegNo Gravatar
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    Aww, thanks for the shout-out! I *do* love my gap, and my slightly wonky front teeth (one is shorter than the other and one is a teensy bit lopsided). The rest of my teeth are an orthodontist’s dream, but front and center are “flaws” that make it unique and my own.

    Speaking of “flaws,” the other day, my trainer and I were talking about my hair and out of the blue he mentioned how much he loves my widow’s peak. No one has ever complimented that before and for years, I HATED it. I decided to own it, finally, because short of shaving it off–which would look ridiculous–there’s no getting rid of it. And here is someone who actually thinks it’s cool.

    There is so much beauty and uniqueness in the world. It’s fun to read and write these posts about it.

  6. WhiskeyandpopcornNo Gravatar
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I guess I would qualify as having a unique smile. I have a severe underbite that I cannot correct, for many reasons (I may need to surgically correct it in the future as it may grow to affect my breathing) . I used to be so self conscious about smiling and showing my teeth, but now I just do all the time, even if it looks weird. If I’m happy, I’m happy – and I will smile!

  7. AmyNo Gravatar
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    A smile is beautiful as long as it comes from real happiness. A fake smile, no matter how ‘perfect’, cannot possibly live up to it.


  8. Vanilla KinksNo Gravatar
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m a proud gapper!

    I have a HUGE gap between my front two teeth, and I’ll never fix it no matter how many times the dentist offers!

  9. alanaNo Gravatar
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I love this post. I have horrible teeth plus I’m a mouth breather. Terribly combination (I have a deviated septum and my lower jaw needs to be corrected with a surgery I can’t afford unfortunately). I also have a really awkward smile in pictures. Like I’m never sure how to smile. lol

    It’s nice to see other people who aren’t obsessed with perfect teeth.

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