The Many Benefits of Smiling

A smile is more than just an expression. But if your teeth are stained, chipped, or just not as white as you would like, smiling might not come easily. If you have a hard time finding the motivation to go to the dentist, take a look at the benefits of smiling.

Reduce Stress

Whether work has you at your wits’ end, the kids will not settle down, you are stuck in complete gridlock, or you’re going through another stressful situation, smiling can help you relax — according to science. Research into the positive effects of smiling show a connection between this facial action and stress reduction.

A study conducted at the University of Kansas found that when adults smile during stressful situations, their heart rates and self-reported stress levels were lower than those of participants who maintained neutral facial positions. This and other similar research show the positive, stress-reducing impact that a simple smile can have on both your psychological and physical health.

Increase Happiness

Smiling is an obvious sign of happiness. But does that mean you have to start out from a happy place to show this emotion on your face? As it turns out, the answer is not clear-cut. Smiling can trigger a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing hormones such as serotonin and dopamine.

These hormones not only impact your stress levels but also are associated with happiness. Decreased levels of both serotonin and dopamine are often at fault when it comes to the development of depression. Actions, such as smiling, that increase these hormones may also increase happiness.

Boost Immunity

Serotonin’s role in the body goes beyond increasing happiness. The happy-making hormone can also impact your immune system. While smiling on its own will not necessarily make you healthier, the hormone cascade that follows might.

When your smile causes the brain to release serotonin, it is making you happier and healthier. The hormone boosts your immune function, making it less likely you will get sick.

Lengthen Life

Happiness and longevity have close ties, according to research. One study, published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, found that people who were pretty happy had a six percent increased risk of early death compared to those who were very happy. The same study also found that adults who were not happy had a 14 percent higher risk.

Given the connection between smiling and happiness, it’s possible the simple facial act could lead to a longer life.

Improve Socialization

The smile is a social cue that bridges cultures and languages. Whether you’re meeting new co-workers for the first time or are out with friends, a simple smile can open doors. Your smile presents a positive image, puts others at ease, and shows off your social side.

Think about the last time you met someone new. What did their face tell you about them? A frown, grimace, or blank expression makes other people want to stay away. But a smile is inviting — giving others the go-ahead to approach and get to know you.

Improve Self-Image

Your dark, uneven, or damaged teeth may make you self-conscious about what other people see. A healthy, bright smile can improve your self-image, boosting your confidence. When your smile makes you feel down about yourself, it’s time to talk to the dentist.

There are plenty of easy options to repair your smile, giving you back the confidence you lost. From in-office whitening procedures to veneers and other permanent fixes, the dentist can help you choose the treatment that’s right for you.

Do you need help getting your bright white smile back? Contact Silverstone Family Dental for more information.