Dental health – Wonky teeth causing confidence crisis amongst UK kids

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 kids 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.

Wonky teeth causing confidence crisis amongst UK kids

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.

To shine a light on the shocking 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, and showcasing the wobbly, gappy and snaggly gnashers in all their glory. The images will be on display to the public at a gallery exhibition in London at Black & White Soho on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th April, 2024.

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

On this partnership and gallery, 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 grown-ups – 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.”


This gallery event will only be available to view for one-weekend only, so don’t miss your chance to see these striking images captured by a photographer of the stars – including Kate Moss and royalty in our late Queen Elizabeth II – and educate you and your family on dental health.

The Rankin x Aquafresh gallery will be open to the public on Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th April, 2024, at Black & White Soho, Greek Street W1D 3DZ

  • *According to 1000 British parents. Haleon Research, March 2024. (47.22% of parents have noticed signs of self-consciousness or lack of confidence in their child related to how their teeth look.

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