One-in-two British children feel low in confidence due to their smiles

26 April, 2024 / infocus

New research conducted by dental health brand Aquafresh has exposed the issues with confidence that British children are feeling, due to the societal pressure of having the ‘perfect’ Hollywood smile. The study has revealed that nearly 1 in 2 children have experienced low confidence because of how their teeth look*.

The study, of 2000 parents and children aged 4-11 revealed that 84% of those children that feel less confident with their smile credit their insecurity to missing teeth (20%), teeth not being “white” (20%), wonky teeth (19%), and gappy teeth (13%). A further 36% have been embarrassed to smile or laugh due to how they feel about their teeth – a devastating statistic that truly demonstrates the impact of low confidence on the youngest in our society.

It’s not only children that are being impacted by the pressure for perfect teeth, but it’s a worrying time for parents too. Almost half of parents (48%) have noticed their child be self-conscious or lack in confidence due to how their teeth/smile looks. A further 43% say their children are impacted by societies obsession with “picture perfect” teeth, and an astounding 98% of parents believe dental health is an important factor in their child’s overall confidence and self-esteem.

Perfection is an attitude, so being able to help kids embrace their wonky teeth has been brilliant


To shine a light on the statistics and encourage children to feel empowered by their healthy teeth, acclaimed British photographer Rankin has partnered with Aquafresh to capture powerful photographs of primary school children proudly showing of their imperfectly perfect teeth. The images will be on display to the public at a gallery exhibition in London at Black & White Soho this weekend (27-28 April).

To celebrate dental diversity, Aquafresh has also crafted toothbrush prototypes for every type of kid’s teeth—whether gappy or snaggly—to foster positive associations with brushing and boost confidence. 

On this partnership and exhibition, Rankin said: “Perfection is an attitude – so being able to help kids embrace their wobbly, wonky teeth and realise what is ‘considered’ as perfect teeth doesn’t matter has been brilliant. Who doesn’t love to challenge the status quo – it’s more interesting being different, anyway!”

Dr Saul Konviser, Dental Wellness Trust, said: “Whilst Rankin’s moving portraits demonstrate the joy in a child’s proud, toothy smile, it’s also heartbreaking to find out that half of children are feeling low in confidence due to the way their teeth look. We know that if teeth are looked after and healthy, they are perfect! Dental health should be as much a part of a child’s self-care routine as washing their body and getting enough sleep – especially as we navigate the Dental Health crisis in the UK, and it becomes harder than ever to secure a dentist’s appointment. It’s so important for grownups – at home and in schools – to instil good dental hygiene habits in kids – habits will last a lifetime. Aquafresh has kindly supported The Dental Wellness Trust for over 3 years, helping us to promote oral health amongst children and whilst we’re making huge progress, this research proves that there’s still vital work to be done!”

Monica Michalopoulou, spokesperson for Aquafresh, said: “We’re thrilled to unveil these captivating images captured by Rankin, empowering children to take pride in their healthy teeth—because perfect teeth are just HEALTHY teeth! Our longstanding commitment to shedding light on dental care challenges faced by families remains unwavering. We are dedicated to our ‘Shine Bright’ schools’ campaign—a vital initiative that amplifies awareness and enriches dental education for parents, teachers, and children across the UK, that’s in it’s fifth year. This program, accessible to all primary schools, emphasises the importance of early teeth brushing through fun and engaging activities.”

Tags: Aquafresh / Smiles

Categories: News

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