A simple, natural smile can be one of the keys to feeling happiness, according to a growing body of scientific evidence.
So flash those pearly whites. And if you feel self-conscious about the appearance of your smile, schedule a personal consultation with a knowledgeable cosmetic dentist; treatments such as teeth whitening and porcelain veneers can help restore a bright, healthy looking smile.
Smiling and the Power of Positive Thought
The benefits of smiling are greater when backed by positive thoughts.
A study conducted by an assistant professor of business management at Michigan State University indicated that workers who fake smiled their ways through days progressively worsened their moods and withdrew from their work. But workers who smiled as a result of cultivating positive thoughts—such as recalling pleasant memories—demonstrated improved moods and were found to be more engaged in their work.
A Fake Smile vs. A Real Smile
There are notable physical differences between a fake smile and a real smile. When we smile, we can potentially activate two muscles: the zygomaticus major, which controls the corners of the mouth, and the obicularis occuli, which circles the eye socket.
A fake smile activates only the zygomaticus major. But when you smile naturally, the obicularis occuli is stimulated and your eyes narrow. Natural smiles also trigger areas of the brain responsible for feelings of happiness and mental stimulation.
Smile for Attention Span
Smiling not only makes us feel good, it may also extend our ability to focus and think holistically.
According to a study cited in the PsyBlog article “10 Hidden Benefits of Smiling,” smiling can increase our attention span and help us perform better on cognitive tests. Smiling can also help reduce the stress caused by upsetting situations; even forcing a smile when down can lift your mood slightly.
Austin, Texas, dentist Dr. Dan Matthews understands the power and importance of a healthy smile. If you’re seeking a knowledgeable, compassionate dentist to help maintain or rejuvenate your smile and oral health, please contact Dan Matthews, DDS, online or call 512-452-2273 to schedule your consultation.