We talk a lot on this blog about the importance of maintaining a bright, happy smile. Probably not really all that surprising coming from a dental blog, but there are some extremely good reasons why a smile is so important. Oral health is, of course, the very top of the list, but there are several physical, social, and psychological benefits to showing of your beautiful smile, too.
A lot of organizations have studied long and hard to quantify these benefits. And while a lot of them will throw out some big words like endorphins and neuropeptides and the like, what it really comes down to is that feeling of happiness showing through your smile that can be very beneficial in many different ways.
The Physical Benefits
Sure, you might say that’s it’s shallow to focus on physical benefits, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. When you show off that great smile, you’ll:
- Look younger – In a study, researchers asked participants to guess the age of strangers in a series of photos. They consistently judged smilers to be younger than they actually were. The study didn’t say that frowns made you look older, but participants were able to guess the right age on neutral expressions. So if you look bored, it’s more likely that you will “look your age.”
- Be more appealing – Smiling faces are consistently rated more appealing in studies on attraction. You’re putting out a vibe that says you are relaxed, sincere, fun, and attractive, and we naturally gravitate toward that.
- Get healthier – Constant smilers seem to have lower stress-hormone levels and tend to have healthier hearts.
The Psychological Benefits
But, of course, it’s not all about appearances. The psychological benefits of smiling are also quite well known, and just as important.
- Boost your mood – Your emotions are not just in your head. They are a whole-body experience. When you smile, you can reduce stress and ease up on the tension that constricts your body so you can relax and recharge.
- Boost others’ moods – A smile is a contagious thing. The more you smile, the more people will smile back.
- Make a lasting impression – Studies suggest that people are more likely to remember a smiling face.
- Be approachable – People are more likely to approach a smiler. They can see that your walls are down, and you’re open to others.
- Build coping mechanisms – Someone who smiles a lot tends to be able to handle stress and sudden changes in life.
The Social Benefits
The most obvious social benefit is the friendly and open feelings you create when you smile. But there’s more to it than just that.
- Improved work situations – It’s easy to assume that happiness comes from success in work, but that’s not quite right. A lot of studies show that happiness actually comes before job success, and it’s those people who find reasons to keep smiling end up finding good results at work.
- Better relationships – Smiling helps you reduce conflict and help others feel comfortable around you. This opens you up to more honest conversations so you can resolve any issues.
Smile Because You Want To
There is a lot of psychological and physiological talk around smiles that involve all those fund words like neuropeptides and serotonin, but does all that really matter in the end?
Maybe not. What’s really important is that you smile and show of those pearly whites because you want to, not because you have to. Don’t let self-conscious thoughts get you down because you have missing or discolored teeth. If you’re ready to experience the everyday benefits of a great smile, come in and see what we can do for you.