How a Smile Affects Your Health
Do you greet the world with a smile? A beautiful smile with healthy teeth makes a great first impression, but did you know there’s more to your smile than meets the eye? Smiling affects your mental, physical, and social health.
- Smiling boosts your mood. When you smile or laugh, your body releases feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Consequently, your stress response is relieved, your mood improves, and you feel less anxious and depressed. In fact, smiling gives you a natural high like the one you feel when you exercise, eat something delicious, or listen to your favorite song. Even a forced smile can “trick” your body into a better mood!
- When you smile, you improve your physical health. Your body and brain are closely linked, so some of those mood-improving factors work on your physical health as well. A bump in endorphins can act as a natural pain reliever and relax your muscles. Laughing increases your oxygen intake and temporarily raises your heart rate, after which your blood pressure and heart rate will be lower. This is good for your heart health, and so is lower stress. Smiling and laughing can also boost your immune system and they improve your cellular health by reducing stress-induced inflammation and tension.
- The health of your relationships can be lifted with a smile. Research indicates that people who smile more are viewed as more likeable, because a smiling face appears more relaxed, friendly, and sincere. Further, when other people see your smile, it activates the orbitofrontal cortex in their brains. This is the region that processes sensory rewards, so that means that other people feel happier and less stressed when you smile at them.
- A smile can make you look younger. People looking at photos of happy expressions guessed the ages of the people as consistently younger than when those same people were frowning or had neutral expressions. Looking younger is good incentive to smile.
Here’s something else you might not know about your smile: the health of your mouth has a major impact on the health of the rest of your body. In fact, poor oral health has been linked to conditions like cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, diabetes, and even dementia. Keeping your body healthy is another great reason to see your dentist regularly and protect that beautiful smile!
If your oral health needs some help, Beyond Dentistry Laser Center is here to get you smiling again, with compassionate, patient-centered care. Led by Dr. Simon Kappel, who has provided the residents of Brooklyn, NY with excellent dental care since 1976, we offer a variety of services, including general, cosmetic, and implant dentistry, to protect your oral health. We treat each patient on an individualized basis, helping them to learn healthy oral habits because we know that a healthy mouth is vital for a healthy body. To learn more or make an appointment, give us a call or contact us through our website.