Smiling is something we see everyday, everywhere! It is pervasive throughout our culture. We see happy smiling faces plastered all over the news anchors’ faces, we see smiles all over movie advertisements- even for the sad movies! Smiles are even the subject of many popular songs such as Justin Bieber’s “U Smile.” So why is it everywhere? There are many reasons, all of which are beneficial to our health!
South Charlotte Dentistry knows that smiling is a natural function that all of us do, usually subconsciously. Smiling is a universally understood facial expression, which denotes pleasure and happiness in nearly every culture. We developed this facial expression because of its ability to express our joy and happiness to others without using words, but also as a means of benefiting our own health.
Smiling is used as a way to attract a mate. The prettier your smile, the more likely it is that someone will be drawn to you. When we like someone, we often subconsciously flash our pearly whites at them, and we do so because we are unknowingly trying to show them that we have a pretty smile. On this same note, smiling also attracts other people, not just potential partners. People are naturally drawn to a person with a pretty smile. Because of this, those with beautiful smiles attract more people to them and make friends more easily than others. Smiling can also make you look young and successful. People associate smiling faces with young and successful people, and our brains will lump those who smile more often into the categories of young and successful automatically. Smiling also lifts certain face muscles which can help make a person appear younger.
Smiling can build your confidence too! Smiling makes you appear confident and happy, which in turn makes people treat you as though you are confident and happy. Being treated this way can help build confidence because our brains naturally react to the way people perceive us.
But the best benefits of smiling are the ones that improve our physical and emotional health, not just our personal relationships. Our smile is directly connected to the part of our brain that controls emotions. When we are happy, the emotion part of the brain is triggered and we smile. But it also works in reverse! When we smile we can trick our brain into thinking that we are happy. The brain is naturally programmed to think that when we are smiling it is because we are happy, so if we choose to smile without having a cue from the brain to do so then the brain thinks that we are happy and it needs to make sure we feel that way. So the brain then releases the chemical serotonin, which is our body’s natural chemical which controls our happy emotions, and then we suddenly feel happy even though nothing made us feel that way!
But this mechanism in the brain doesn’t just keep us from being down in the dumps- it affects other areas of our body’s health too. Smiling relieves stress for the same reasons that it decreases our depression. Having lower stress is obviously a benefit in and of itself, but that lower stress can help you in more ways than just one. The low stress can keep your blood pressure down, as well as give a good kick to your immune system.
But the opposite can be true too. When a person is afraid to smile it can have negative affects on their health. The brain will release serotonin when we experience happiness even if we don’t smile, but the amount of serotonin that is released is much greater when the person also smiles. If someone is afraid to smile they will start to decrease the amount of serotonin that their brain releases, and this can easily lead a person into depression and high stress levels as well as other negative health side effects.
It is important to make sure you are not afraid to show your smile. You shouldn’t let embarrassing teeth keep you from living a full and happy life. If you are afraid to smile because of cracked or chipped teeth, stains and yellowing, crooked teeth, decay, or any other problem with aesthetics, cosmetic dentistry can help you! These things can all be fixed with some very simple procedures. Don’t let bad teeth stand in the way of your happiness!
If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Wells and the South Charlotte Dentistry team, feel free to stop by their Ballantyne office or call 704-759-0908.