4 Proven Benefits of a Healthy, Beautiful Smile
Modern dentistry has allowed more people to achieve their dream smiles than ever before. When you imagine changing your smile, you may picture orthodontia, whitening or another cosmetic dentistry service. You may be able to foresee how these cosmetic alterations would make your smile look, but you may not realize that working toward a healthier, more beautiful smile is also good for you. In this blog, we list four of the ways individuals benefit from optimizing their smiles.
Decreased Risk of Disease
While your ideal smile may require cosmetic dental work, an attractive smile starts and ends with good oral hygiene. When you prioritize the health of your teeth, gums and other soft tissues, you reduce your risk of dental issues as well as decrease your risk of other common and potentially serious health conditions. For example, research indicates a connection between excess bacteria in the mouth caused by decay or gum disease and whole-body diseases like diabetes, HIV/AIDS and cardiovascular disease. Good oral health may also lead to healthier pregnancy, decrease your risk of osteoporosis and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. While your beautiful smile may not keep you from contracting or developing these diseases in the first place, good oral health does reduce your risks of both getting the conditions and suffering complications from the conditions.
Higher Chance of Frequent Smiles
The act of smiling itself is highly beneficial, both physically and psychologically, as we’ll discuss in the remaining sections. However, you can only receive these benefits if you smile often. Luckily, improving your smile’s health and appearance can encourage you to smile more readily. Not only can cosmetic changes give you more confidence to show off your pearly whites, but keeping your teeth in good condition decreases the risk that discoloration or discomfort will prevent you from smiling or distract people from your smiles. The more you smile, the easier and more automatic it will feel. You may have to concentrate to smile more at first, but the longer you make the effort, the more you’ll find yourself smiling without a second thought because the smile response will become an automatic habit.
Increased Release of Balancing Neurochemicals
As you may know from experience, smiling can provide an immediate emotional lift. This result is more than just a placebo effect. You may feel happier, calmer or even more comfortable after smiling because the act itself prompts your brain to produce balancing neurochemicals. When you smile, your brain releases dopamine, endorphins, neuropeptides and serotonin. These neurochemicals all function to regulate mood and decrease pain. Specifically, dopamine causes relaxation and contentment, endorphins serve as a natural painkiller, neuropeptides encourage emotional processing that can reduce stress and serotonin causes feelings of happiness. While a smile may not replace needed medication, frequent smiles can supplement the treatment for chronic pain, mood disorders, persistent stress or tension and other medical conditions. Even forced or fake smiles prompt a neurochemical release so smiling more can help you feel better even when you don’t want to do it. Additionally, as we discussed in the previous section, the more often you think to fake a smile, the less you’ll need to put on a false happy face because you will become more likely to smile automatically.
More Personal and Professional Opportunities
It may sound strange to claim that a visually appealing smile can lead to more personal and professional opportunities. But when you’re happy with your smile, you use it more frequently. By extension, you find yourself smiling more readily in social and workplace situations. This habit of approaching your life with a smile can lead to personal opportunities because a genuine and attractive smile is shown to make you more attractive to other people. This effect comes from how the brain processes a smiling face. When you see someone smiling, you receive a sensory reward from the orbitofrontal cortex of the brain. This reward process means that people who see your smile associate you with a pleasant, rewarding feeling, which can encourage the development of interpersonal bonds. In both your personal and professional life, your smile also makes you appear more trustworthy, which can strengthen connections and provide opportunities for advancement. Psychological studies show that broad, sincere smiles evoke strong feelings of trust in the people who see them. Additionally, your smile may make you a better worker since the positive feelings produced when you smile have been shown to increase productivity and mental acuity, especially in the workplace. To reap the benefits listed above, discuss your concerns and smile goals with your dentist. In many cases, a single procedure can provide an effective first step toward your most advantageous and infectious smile. For comprehensive cosmetic dentistry services, including whitening, veneers and dental implants, trust the team at Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates.