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New research reveals Kiwis are losing confidence

New research reveals Kiwis are losing confidence – but smiling is the answer

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, January 20, 2020 – New research has revealed the confidence of many New Zealanders has decreased with over a quarter (27%) of Kiwis claiming their day-to-day confidence has declined in the last five years.

Almost a quarter of Kiwis (22.6%) feel self-conscious about their teeth, second only to feeling self-conscious about their weight (38.4%).

The consumer survey, conducted by researchers Glow Feed on behalf of leading teledentistry company SmileDirectClub, gauged how New Zealanders feel about their smiles and overall confidence levels.

In an increasingly visual world where every moment is documented on social media, more than a third of Kiwis (34.2%) confessed to being self-conscious about their teeth when they are having their photo taken.

The findings also revealed Kiwis believe a great smile makes them more positive and leads to a happier life with 2 in 5 (39.5%) saying smiling makes them feel happier and almost a quarter (23.6%) believe smiling cheers other people up.

The research, which surveyed more than 1000 Kiwis, also found:
Smiling is infectious – with almost three quarters of Kiwis (72%) saying when they see someone smile, it makes them smile back
Kiwis are self-conscious about their teeth – with almost a quarter (22.8%) saying they would feel more confident if they had great teeth and a great smile, beating having clear skin or a new outfit
Many Kiwis are “smile hiders” – with just over a fifth (21.8%) smiling with their mouth closed and 1 in 10 avoid smiling if they can

Wellington-based Psychologist Susan Wall said smiling instils people with stronger self-esteem and greater life satisfaction.

“When our smiling muscles contract they fire a signal back to the brain, stimulating our reward system and increasing our levels of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin; our happy hormones. This has a wide range of effects ranging from making our body relax and lowering our heart rate to reducing stress and relieving pain.

“In short, when our brain feels happy, we smile. When we smile, our brain feels happier. A smile has the power to lift our mood and add to our sense of emotional wellbeing.”

The research results also offered an insight into the role a smile plays in building and maintaining self-confidence with over a fifth (21.3%) saying a smile makes people receive them more positively which is key for networking and socialising.

Wall said the act of smiling contributes to the happiness of others, be it co-workers and clients or friends and family.

“Scientists have found that seeing a smiling face activates our orbito-frontal cortex, the region in our brain that processes sensory rewards. This suggests that when we view a person smiling, we actually feel that we’re being rewarded.”

Kay Oswald, President of International at SmileDirectClub, said: “The research shows Kiwis not only love smiling but they appreciate the benefits of smiling. However, it is disheartening to learn that some New Zealanders feel less confident than they used to, and that’s in part because of their teeth.

“The confidence that comes from having a great smile is transformative in every aspect of your life, and we're thrilled to provide more New Zealanders with a more affordable and convenient way to straighten their teeth and get the smile they’ve always wanted,” concluded Oswald.

SmileDirectClub launched its first SmileShops in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch in September with plans to expand its footprint in the country.


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