Top things most likely to make Brits smile – including spending time with family

Hearing a baby giggle, a smiley stranger in the street, and being sent a meme, also ranked highly in the top 30 list.

But despite the average UK adult encountering 11 things a day that make them beam, three in five (59 percent) reveal they have felt self-conscious about their smile – with three-quarters blaming it on how their teeth look.

The research was commissioned by TePe, as part of its campaign to raise awareness of the health conditions linked to oral health.

Kelly Field, from the oral health specialist, said: “It is often the little things which can brighten up our days – whether it’s a smiley stranger in the street, or hearing a baby giggle.

“With the pandemic shining a new light on the importance of quality time with loved ones, it is perhaps unsurprising that spending time with family is most likely to make the nation smile.

“However, for something which comes so naturally, it is a shame that many people feel self-conscious about the appearance of their smile.

“Smiling has many benefits, like improving mood and reducing stress – yet there is so much more a smile can reveal about our underlying health.

“With oral health linked to conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease, keeping our smile in tip-top shape is so important.”

Shedding further light on Brits’ smile insecurities, the survey revealed 60 percent of adults have disliked the way their grin has looked in a photograph – with catching their appearance on a video call named as the time when they feel most awkward about their smile.

Discoloured, crooked, or missing teeth are the most common reasons for the lack of confidence, while over a quarter (27 percent) bemoan the number of fillings they have.

Actions taken to improve their teeth include cutting tea and coffee intake, and stopping smoking.

One in seven (14 percent) Brits have even reduced their red wine intake to maintain a sparkling smile.

Appearances aside, the survey, conducted via OnePoll, found only half (52 percent) of UK adults are aware that poor oral hygiene has been linked to a range of long-term health conditions.

For instance, only one in six (16 percent) correctly stated that arthritis can be affected by poor oral health, while just one in three identified that diabetes could be linked.

GP Dr Sarah Jarvis said: “When we think of the benefits of looking after our oral health, it is fillings and root canals which normally spring to mind – but the benefits extend much wider than your smile.

“Poor oral hygiene has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.

“This may be because bacteria in inflamed gums can travel to blood vessels elsewhere in the body – or because inflammation in the gum triggers damaging inflammation in the blood vessels of the heart and brain.

“Similarly, as those with type 2 diabetes, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis are more likely than someone without to develop dental issues or gum disease, good oral hygiene is all the more important for people with these conditions.”

Kelly Field added: “Just like regular exercise and a balanced diet, looking after your teeth and gums is part of a healthy lifestyle.

“Because most dental disease starts between your teeth, where food and plaque accumulate, along with regular dental appointments and brushing teeth twice a day, it’s important to clean between the teeth daily, using floss or interdental brushes.”


  1. Spending time with family
  2. Waking up to sunshine
  3. Making someone else smile
  4. Finding money in your pocket you didn’t know you had
  5. Getting a bargain
  6. Seeing an old friend
  7. Getting a surprise from someone
  8. Spending time in the great outdoors
  9. Eating your favourite meal
  10. Hearing a joke
  11. Listening to your favourite song
  12. Looking through old photographs
  13. Chocolate
  14. Watching your favourite TV show
  15. Receiving a compliment from a stranger
  16. A tidy home
  17. Waking up next to someone you love
  18. A stranger smiling at you in the street
  19. A cuddle with your pet
  20. Hearing a baby laugh
  21. Watching a great new film
  22. Payday
  23. Having a lie in
  24. Waking up and remembering it’s the weekend
  25. Seeing your sports team win
  26. The smell of bacon
  27. Hearing a cat purr
  28. Having a “good hair day”
  29. Ordering a takeaway
  30. Being sent a funny meme

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