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As Londoners head to the polls on Thursday, new research out today1 reveals it might not be the Mayoral candidates’ election manifestos that will swing the vote in their favour, but their smile.

The research, carried about by dental health experts Molar, polled Londoners on the physical appearance of the London Mayor front runners, asking them whether the image they project, in particular their smile and facial expression, would affect their vote. With the research revealing most had some way to go to bring their pearly whites in line with their policies, Molar has also compiled a list of its top tips for quick-fix, low-cost smile perfection, to help Politicians get a high watt smile to get ahead.

Green Goddess: If votes were based on smiles alone, The Green Party’s
Siân Berry would be Mayor. Forty two per cent of those polled thought she had the winning smile and liked her funky style. But 16% thought her hair was too disheveled and whilst many agreed with her ethics, they doubted whether she had enough clout for the job.

Conservative by name, not nature: Boris Johnson might want to put a smile back on London’s face, but he needs some work on his own smile first. Twenty eight per cent of respondents thought the gawky grin, laddish behaviour and boyish fluffing of this hair undermined his political credentials, which could leave him down in the polls as well as the doldrums.

Grin and bear it Ken: Thirty per cent thought the fact that Ken Livingstone rarely showed his teeth in photographs indicated he’s got something to hide. Twenty per cent thought his smile was un-genuine, unflattering and bordered on cheesy when coupled with his squinting eyes.

Liberal praise: Brian Paddick was the clear style leader of the pack. When respondents were asked to name the best dressed politician, the Liberal Democrat Leader outsmarted the rest, claiming 42% of the vote. Eighteen per cent thought his short, sharp hair style was more than up for the job and 8% of women admitted to a secret crush on the gay, ex-Police chief.

Molar says “The most useful political tactic can be a good smile but they are almost impossible to fake and many find it hard to display genuine smiles on demand. The most effective smiles are with the mouth open and teeth showing, rather than a closed mouth grin which can look hapless and create suspicion. British politicians could learn a thing or two from their US counterparts. Ronald Regan was good at delivering genuine smiles and John McCain also seems to mean it.”

QUICK-FIX, LOW-COST TIPS FOR POLITICIAN SMILE PERFECTION

- Bad breath after a heavy garlic lunch is not good news. Keep breath mints in pockets to freshen up on the go

- Chew sugar-free gum after each meal to increase saliva flow and flush out debris, and carry a toothbrush to clean teeth between meals

- Cut back on fatty, alcohol-infused networking lunches. Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet and limiting sugar intake will reduce plaque and tartar formation, and reduce the risk of tooth decay

- A good smile is hard to fake might and will be impossible with no teeth!. Plaque build-up can cause inflamed gums which can eventually affect the tooth’s support and cause the teeth to fall out, so use floss or interdental brushes to remove hidden plaque where the toothbrush can’t reach

- Too much tea, coffee red wine or blue cheese over a networking lunch can cause the teeth to stain. Book regular hygienist appointments to polish away stained plaque and tartar on the tooth surface.

ENDS
Further information/samples/photography from:
Wendy Campling/Nicola Boniface
Sparkle Press Office
Tel. 020 8686 8441 / 3141

Notes to editors
1 Research carried out across 1000 men and women in London throughout April 2008

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