‘Perfection is an attitude’, says photographer as kids fear smiling in case they show off ‘wonky’ teeth

Half of young children lack self-confidence due to imperfect teeth, causing stress and anxiety for them and their parents.

A study of 2,000 parents and children aged 4 to 11 found that 84 per cent lacked confidence in their smiles and attributed their insecurity to missing teeth rather than teeth being “white,” unstable or Open.

British photographer Rankin captured photos of primary school students showing their teeth proudlyImage source: Rankin x Aquafresh
A study of 2,000 parents and children revealed that 84% lacked confidence in their smilesImage source: Rankin x Aquafresh
Almost half of parents notice their children become uncomfortable because of their teethImage source: Rankin x Aquafresh
About 36% of children feel embarrassed to smile or laughImage source: Rankin x Aquafresh

But acclaimed British photographer Rankin has captured some stunning photos of schoolchildren proudly showing off their imperfect teeth, displaying those wobbly, gapped, broken gnashers.

Rankin partnered with Aquafresh after research revealed that 36% of children are embarrassed to smile or laugh because of the way their teeth feel.

This devastating statistic really shows the impact that low self-confidence has on the youngest people in our society.

But it's not just children who are affected by the pressure to have perfect teeth, it's also a worrying time for parents.

Almost half have noticed that their child has become uncomfortable or lacks confidence because of the way their teeth or smile looks.

A further 43% said their children had been influenced by society's obsession with “perfect” teeth, and nearly all agreed that dental health is an important factor in a child's overall confidence and self-esteem.

“Perfection is an attitude, so it's great to be able to help kids embrace their wonky, wonky teeth and realize that what is 'perceived' to be perfect doesn't matter,” Rankin said.

“Who doesn’t like to challenge the status quo – it’s more fun to be different anyway.”

Rankin's images will be presented to the public at a gallery exhibition at Black & White Soho, London, on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th April 2024.

Aquafresh spokesperson Monica Michalopoulou said: “We’re excited to release these captivating images captured by Rankin to help children take pride in their healthy teeth, because perfect teeth are healthy teeth.

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Our long-standing commitment to shining a light on the dental care challenges families face remains unwavering.

“We are committed to the ‘Shine the Light’ schools campaign, a major initiative to raise awareness and enrich dental education for parents, teachers and children across the UK, now in its fifth year.

“The program, open to all primary schools, emphasizes the importance of early brushing through fun and engaging activities.”

Dr Saul Konviser, of the Dental Wellness Trust, who has been supported by the dental brand for the past three years, added: “While Rankin's moving portrait shows the joy of a child's proud toothy smile, it was found Half of children feel less confident because of the appearance of their teeth.

“We know that if teeth are looked after and kept healthy, they are perfect. Dental health should be as much a part of a child’s self-care routine as bathing and getting enough sleep – especially as we tackle the dental health crisis in children. In the UK , making an appointment with the dentist has become more difficult than ever.

A previous survey revealed that nearly half of Britons get home decoration inspiration from abroad.

One poll found that drivers spend about 175 days of their lives stuck in traffic.

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