A beautiful, genuine smile is a mood booster with feel-good power and a wide range of well-documented benefits. Smiling affects your brain, your body and even other people. But unfortunately, as we get older and our lives get more stressful, we tend to smile less, not more.
Discover what's going on in your body when you smile, and how it can help you live a longer, happier life.
Not every smile is alike
Research suggests that the Duchenne smile is among the most influential of human expressions: A smile that spreads across your entire face, displaying pearly whites and making the corners of your eyes wrinkle up, is said to be the most authentic expression of happiness. Most of us will recognise it as a genuine sign of pleasure and joy.
A Non-Duchenne, on the other hand, smile indicates that someone is simply being polite and discreet, which is surprisingly an appropriate response in a lot of situations. Many stewardesses, customer service and hospitality workers practice it every day.
What happens in your brain when you smile?
A genuine, Duchenne smile, triggers a positive feedback loop of happiness. Your brain releases powerful chemicals. Those so-called neuropeptides are hormones that spread messages throughout your body. When you are happy, these little couriers distribute that feeling, relieving stress and restoring calmness.
The brain also releases the neurotransmitters serotonin, endorphins and dopamine, a combination of hormones that triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, leaving you feeling more relaxed, motivated and productive. This in return, leads you to smile even more.
When your brain feels happy, you smile. When you smile, you feel happier.
Smiling makes you feel great, from head to toe. And even better, smiling it turns out, is highly contagious. Here is why it’s great for you and those around you!
The health benefits of smiling
Besides boosting your mood, smiling and laughing also have a huge and wide-ranging impact on your body. Serotonin has a variety of functions in the body, but it’s most famous for acting as a natural antidepressant, lifting your mood with every single smile. Endorphins are chemicals produced to relieve the effects of stress and pain and can produce feelings of euphoria.
Dopamine plays many important roles but stands out as the chemical that mediates pleasure in the brain, helping us to focus and pay attention.
When you smile, you not only feel better about yourself, you also raise your self-esteem and change your perspective. You’ll have a more positive outlook on life, even in difficult situations. Simply smiling can go a long way to make you feel better and stay mentally healthy.
Laughter, some say, is the best medicine. The release of happy hormones provides numerous physical and mental health benefits, including:
- Lowered heart rate and blood pressure
- Stronger immune system
- Relieve of body aches and pains
- Reduced stress and increased relaxation
- Eased anxiety and tension
- Raised self-esteem
- Strengthened resilience
- A younger appearance
Smiling can also make you more attractive and approachable to others!
The surprising effects your smile has on others
When you smile, people will treat you differently. You suddenly become more approachable, open, and caring. Especially when your smile is genuine. When the brain registers an attractive, smiling face, the orbitofrontal cortex is activated. This is the part of your brain that processes sensory rewards. In other words, you feel rewarded when you see a genuine smiling face.
A study at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, found that both genders were more attracted to people who smiled than those who did not. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but a great smile is attractive to pretty much anyone.
If you’re smiling at someone, chances are that they’ll smile back. Smiling, as it turns out, is contagious. We tend to mimic the smiles of others, without even noticing it. Research suggests that this behaviour helps us understand the emotional states of others. And not just that, according to Neurobiologist Peggy Mason, smiles “are one of many facial expressions that, when shared, create a kind of “social cohesion” that enables us to feel empathy and help one another to survive.”
How having bad teeth can negatively affect your health
Knowing how important a great smile is for our health and wellbeing, it becomes all the more important to look after your oral health. Unfortunately, only 51 per cent of adults brush their teeth twice a day as recommended. Consequently, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases in Australia.
Dental issues, such as decayed or missing teeth, can cause problems with self-esteem, one's ability to eat, speak and interact without embarrassment or pain. Studies indicate that there is a link between bad teeth and mental health issues. Poor oral health can increase anxiety and depression and create a vicious cycle.
A study conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) showed that people were generally less satisfied with their life if their teeth were in bad condition. People from the younger generations seemed to have more embarrassment and shame associated with the appearance of their teeth. 28 per cent of young adults claimed it affected their ability and confidence during job interviews.
Dental implants can improve your well being and overall happiness
Wouldn’t it be great to have that full, bright smile? With a great smile, comes confidence, happiness and the ability to light up every room. A gap in your smile can stand in the way of you living your best life. An All-on-4® treatment with dental implants can restore your ability to bite and chew, but more importantly, it’ll give back the confidence in your smile.
“Sometimes your joy can be the source of your smile, but sometimes, your smile can be the source of your joy.” - Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk
Finding happiness is easier than you think. And it never looked better: All-on-4® treatments can be completed in as little as a day, leaving you with a complete set of natural-looking dental implants that provide a long term, sustainable solution for missing teeth. Don’t believe us? Why don’t you see for yourself?
Need More Information?
If you’d like to learn more about the Malo Protocol and All-on-4® treatment options, visit our All-on-4® dental treatment guide. For the smile you have always wanted, get in touch with your local Next Smile™ All-on-4® Centre or give us a call!