How Smiling Affects You — And Those Around You!

March 7, 2016
Smiling is, of course, associated with being happy, but you might have assumed that it’s happiness that causes smiling.  In fact, smiling can actually lead to feeling happier!  Read on to learn how smiling affects both you and those around you.
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Your smile says a lot about you and your overall health too!

Smiling is Good For Your Health

A study conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation showed that the simple act of smiling can have a dramatic affect on your mood.  Even when you’re feeling down, forcing a smile can actually help improve your mood. Smiling has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, such as increased blood pressure, digestion problems, and blood sugar regulation.  Smiling activates neuropeptides that fight stress by sending the message to your body that you’re happy.  Dopamine, endorphins and serotonin — neurotransmitters associated with pleasure — are also released when you smile.  So not only do you feel better, but your heart rate and blood pressure both decrease. As a bonus, endorphins act as a natural pain reliever, and serotonin works as an anti-depressant and mood lifter.  If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, put one there anyway!  You’ll feel the affects soon.

How Your Smile Affects Others

In a 2011 study by researchers at the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, both men and women were more attracted to images of people who made eye contact and smiled.  The reason?  Smiling makes you look more attractive, relaxed, sincere and confident — all attractive qualities. Interestingly, one study published in Neuropsychologia, a medical journal, indicated that smiling activates the part of your brain that processes sensory rewards.  So, when you smile at someone, they feel rewarded (and vice versa). Additionally, smiling is contagious.  In one Swedish study of emotional empathy, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, researchers found that humans have an unconscious automatic response area that causes us to mimic the facial expressions of those we interact with.  Thus, our natural reaction when we see a smile is to smile back.  It actually takes a lot of effort to frown in response to a smile!

Get a Confident Smile with Elrod Orthodontics

Smiling is good for both your health and the health of others.  When you smile, you receive all the benefits that come along with it, and when you smile at someone, they’re likely to smile in return and get those same benefits for yourselves.  So there’s a lot to be said for being comfortable and confident in your smile.

If you feel less than confident in the state of your smile, Dr. Elrod can help.  He’s been practicing orthodontics for more than 30 years and loves helping kids, teens and adults gain confidence in their smiles.  If you’re ready to learn more about what braces can do for you, give us a call at 816-463-8394, or visit Elrod Orthodontics on facebook !