Could you use a smile? Smiling has been shown to do wonders for our health. Even when you’re smiling at nothing in particular, the action alone is doing you a world of good.
However, it can be difficult to show your pearly whites if you’re self-conscious about your teeth — or if you’re not having a particularly good day. Here are the top reasons why you should smile more and some habits you can take up to achieve a healthier smile.
Mental Health Benefits of Smiling
Smiling reduces anxiety and stress
A 2012 study conducted by the Department of Psychology at the University of Kansas, Lawrence found that smiling elicits positive psychological effects in stressful situations.
During the study, some participants were instructed to smile, while others received no instruction at all. Regardless of whether or not they were instructed to do so, participants who smiled were shown to have lower heart rates than those who did not smile.
Smiling during times of stress isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it’s worth a try. The next time you’re in a stressful situation, whether it’s a traffic jam or a hectic day at work, try putting on a smile and taking a few deep breaths. You’ll feel the effects almost immediately.
Smiling can boost your happiness
It may seem strange to force a smile when you’re sad or upset, but doing so can actually help improve your mood. The science behind this? Smiling helps produce dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that regulate your mood and overall well-being. Normal levels of dopamine and serotonin help us feel more calm, “centered,” and can even help lower our blood pressure.
Smiling can improve your relationships with others
Did you know that you’re more attractive when you smile? It’s not just a bluff: A 2013 study found that attractiveness is “strongly influenced” by smiling. If you’re ever lacking confidence in a social setting, put on a smile to ease the tension. In addition, studies show that smiling is actually contagious, so if you want to share the wealth with others, flash a smile!
Physical Health Benefits of Smiling
Smiling helps manage pain
Smiling has been shown to release endorphins, which not only boost your mood but also help you cope with pain. These are the same neurotransmitters that are released during periods of exercise, creating what’s frequently called “runner’s high.” Smiling gives you endorphins without doing any sort of exercise (though exercise certainly doesn’t hurt, either).
Smiling strengthens the immune system
A study conducted by the Smiling Hospital Research Team found that hospitalized children who received visits from various entertainers had higher lymphocyte counts than those who did not receive visits, suggesting a correlation between happiness and the body’s ability to heal itself.
Now that you’re aware of the many health benefits of smiling, here are some ways to make sure your smile stays in great shape.
Dental Habits for a Beautiful Smile
Perhaps the most obvious thing you can do to achieve a healthy smile is brushing. Brushing at least twice a day (morning and night) and between meals ensures your teeth stay clean throughout the day. Regular brushing also prevents tooth loss and decay — neither of which are ideal for a healthy smile! Be sure to use a fluoride-infused toothpaste for maximum cavity protection.
When it comes to maintaining a healthy smile, flossing is just as important as brushing. Flossing effectively removes plaque buildup from the gums and teeth to help prevent gingivitis and periodontitis. Without flossing, plaque can eventually harden and turn into tartar, which is much harder to remove.
Although teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure, it can do wonders for those who are self-conscious about their smile. Having sparkling white teeth means you’re more likely to flash your pearly whites, allowing you to feel more confident in your day-to-day life.
There are many different ways to whiten your teeth, but the main methods include using whitening toothpaste, commercial whitening trays or strips, or undergoing a professional whitening treatment.
- Whitening toothpaste: There are a variety of whitening toothpastes on the market, however, their long-term effectiveness is debatable. We recommend Supersmile’s Professional Whitening System, which includes professional-grade toothpaste and a whitening accelerator to speed up the process.
- Whitening trays or strips: Many commercial dental brands make their own whitening strips and trays that you can purchase at your local drug store. However, like whitening toothpaste, these products are only really viable for a short period of time.
- Cosmetic whitening: If you’re really looking for high-quality, lasting results, getting your teeth whitened professionally by a cosmetic dentist is your best bet. You can either undergo an in-office procedure, or your dentist can create your very own take-home whitening kit for your convenience. Professional teeth whitening is, by far, your best option if you want your teeth to whiten and stay that way.
With so many health benefits, there’s more than one reason to why you should smile. Self-conscious about yours? Learn more about our Six Month Smiles treatment and how it can help you quickly achieve that dazzling smile you’ve always wanted.