How Important Is It to Smile?

  • May 21 2018

Is having a nice smile really worth all of the expense?

We have all had the experience of not being in a very good mood or being distracted by unpleasant thoughts and having someone tell us to smile. Probably resulted in your wanting to do just the opposite, right? Despite the fact that it really is rude and rather condescending to tell someone else how they should be arranging their facial muscles, the truth of the matter is that that is actually good advice. We recognize that the desire to smile comes from feeling good about something or happy to be doing something we like or with people that we enjoy. What most of us do not realize is that the act of smiling causes a chemical reaction in the brain that does makes us feel better.

This sounds like one of those “which came first” riddles. Do we smile because we feel happy or are we happy because we smile? When it comes to the chicken and egg conundrum, there may never be a satisfactory answer, but, as far as smiling is concerned, the answer is fairly easy: both are true. Obviously, we respond to outer stimuli or happy thoughts by smiling. This, then, releases dopamine and serotonin, hormones found in the brain, which increases our feelings of happiness and well-being. Plus, forcing a smile, even when we do not feel like smiling, also has the same effect of releasing these hormones, which, in spite of our state of mind, makes us feel better. Studies have shown that this works when a foreign object, like a pencil or chopstick, is held between the teeth forcing the muscles into a smile. The same is true when Botox injections prevent an individual from frowning.

Wait, there’s more! Psychoneuroimmunology studies the correlations between our emotions and our physical bodies. It is becoming more and more apparent to healthcare professionals that our psychological interactions affect what happens in the brain as well as having a significant effect on our immune systems. Simply put, happier people are healthier. So, if happier people are healthier and smiling is registered as being happy by the brain, it stands to reason that smiling more is a worthwhile objective.

How to Make It Easier and More Natural to Smile

No one has to teach us to smile. There’s always someone who has to point out that there is really no way to tell if a baby’s smile is because it is happy or it has gas. That might have some truth in the very beginning, but it soon becomes plain when that little one lights up with a smile at the sight of mom that it is a totally natural response to being happy to see her. We can, however, learn to consciously hold back from smiling. This most often has to do with being embarrassed about our smile because of crooked, missing or discolored teeth. Whether this starts in childhood or develops later in life, we have always known that this can take a huge toll, socially. Now, we recognize that it can also affect the physical health of the individual.

Good dental hygiene and regular cleanings and check-ups, starting at an early age, are crucial. Follow-up care and taking advantage of modern technology and current innovative procedures can give anyone a smile to be proud of.

If you would like to improve your smile or have questions about any of our services, whether dentistry or aesthetics, Forest Hills Dentistry is dedicated to delivering the highest quality services possible. We offer the latest and most current information and services to our patients with a new state-of-the-art facility in Forest Hills, Queens. Patient comfort, individualized care and complete satisfaction are our priority.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to use our online form by clicking here.

Categories: Dental Health