Who knew smiling was so good for you?
There couldn’t be a more poignant (and yes possibly cliche) proverb for this subject than ‘Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry and you cry alone.’ The origins of this well-known saying can be traced back to a sad poem of solitude written over 130 years ago. In today’s advanced society you’ll find that this statement can be backed scientifically with evidence to suggest the world really is a better place through smiling.
Ella Wheeler, the author of Solitude was correct in her observational musings about the effects our emotions play on those around us. Whilst smiling can be an expression of how we feel, it is also a real representation of happiness, positivity and cheer. Smiling and laughing play such a significant role in our psychological well-being, that you will probably wonder why you haven’t spent more time dedicated to this effortless activity!
As dentists, we care massively about the health of your teeth and gums, it’s our responsibility to do so. What you may not realise is that we are obsessed with creating happy smiles for our patients for many other reasons. Having healthy-looking teeth and being free from pain and discomfort is sure to encourage a smiling face. The side effects of this smile are accompanied by a whole other level of priceless benefits.
This is why we are so determined to give everyone who walks through our doors a smile they are proud to show off, without hesitation. It is the reason why our treatments focus on not just the physical side of dental health but also the aesthetic procedures which give you the confidence to use your smile more. You just cannot underestimate the impact of being comfortable in your own teeth, inside and out.
How can smiling affect us psychologically?
In Ron Gutman’s TED Talk which focuses entirely on smile research, we learn that smiling is actually our untapped superpower! Studies have found that 1 smile can produce the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2000 bars of chocolate! This is seriously rewarding business and without the calories. Bonus!
Here are just a few of the ways that smiling benefits us psychologically:
Smiling is a Pain Inhibitor
Smiling is a natural drug. Responsible for releasing our bodies feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin it also triggers the production of natural internal painkillers. This powerful combination serves to reduce our perception of aches and pains.
Smile research conducted by the University of California demonstrates that the act of smiling can reduce the pain sensation received from a needle injection by up to 40%. This proves that you have the power to increase your own pain threshold simply by making the right expression!
Smiling gives the appearance of youth
There is an old chinese proverb which quotes ‘Every smile makes you a day younger.’
If you thought that a new haircut, outfit or anti-ageing lotions and potions were the key to giving you a youthful appearance, you have disregarded the most important accessory to your look. Your smile!
Wearing a great big grin is natures way of granting you a fresh, young image. When comparing images of happy faces vs neutral vs angry expressions, researches found that the faces with smiles were considered to be younger. Coupled with a set of bright, white teeth practically reverses the ageing process!
Not only that but smiling is free!
Happy face, happy place! There are controversial claims to suggest that smiling is better than Prozac. Again, thanks to the cocktail of pleasure-inducing chemicals released when smiling you will feel more relaxed, happier and less anxious. Anti-depressants work hard to manage the production of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin even though with the right facial demeanour we are able to trigger this clever chemistry ourselves.
Whilst it might be hard to smile when you really don’t feel like it the research conducted by the University of California concludes that “feigning a smile, whether conscious or not, may alter emotions in a positive way.”
Whilst you may think that a side effect of being happy is smiling, you should know that smiling can trick you into feeling happy without you even realising!
When you start the day on the wrong foot, when it’s all getting too much at work or if the kids are driving you nuts a small act of kindness or vision of joy is often all it takes to wipe the slate clean. This is because smiling helps reduce the heart rate, thereby lowering blood pressure and restoring calm in a tense situation.
Since our heart rate is a general indicator of stress levels a simple smile is a great antidote to today’s pressure-cooker society. Plus if you manage to beam through your day, then chances are you will pass it on to the next unsuspecting stress-sufferer.
People are attracted to those who are relaxed, confident and welcoming. A smile offers all of these signals and therefore encourages others to want to be around us. In an era when we have faced one of the most isolating periods of our lives as a result of the pandemic, any route to reducing isolation is welcomed.
Smiling is a self-perpetuating phenomenon. When someone witnesses a smile or laughter it causes a completely involuntary response to smile themselves. This naturally occurring ripple effect is completely contagious and beneficial to everyone involved. Imagine having the power to brighten someone’s day. Imagine the feeling of knowing you had that effect on those around you!
By smiling you attract others into your company, thereby reducing loneliness and isolation. This companionship gives us even more reason to smile which then triggers all the aforementioned benefits.
Let’s get you smiling again!
Hopefully this gives you a little insight into why we are crazy about smiles and why we dedicate our lives to giving the gift of a confident smile to our patients.
If you have found yourself inhibiting your smile or laughter due to the way you feel about your teeth, you are missing out on a bunch of benefits that could make life so much more enjoyable.
Don’t allow your teeth to be the barrier to you living your best life. Allow us to find you the solution to get you smiling again. Book in for a consultation to turn that frown upside down for good!