We smile on average 26 times a day. Having a smile that you’re proud of can improve your life in a myriad of ways. It’s not just the physical smile itself, but the confidence it can instill. A smile is one of the first things people notice about you. We rate the value of a smile as highly important and we want our smile to look its best. Yet many people are unhappy with their teeth and are self-conscious of their smile. Here are seven ways that you can benefit from having a healthier smile, and therefore smiling more often.
A strong correlation exists between having bad teeth and low self-esteem. Dull, crooked, gappy or missing teeth can affect your professional life and social life dramatically, as it can reduce your confidence and the perception that others have of you. In the professional world, it’s difficult to perform well in job interviews and assuming a leadership role when your confidence level is low. In the personal world, it’s hard to form new relationships when you don’t like to smile.
A poll of 1000 people in the UK revealed that:
- 75% of people view a good smile as an important factor when going for a new job
- 85% of people thought that a person’s smile was very important on a first meeting
- A study (http://www.executivestyle.com.au/is-your-smile-holding-you-back-2ok84) found that people with white teeth are perceived to earn nearly $17,000 more annually than those with stained teeth. Furthermore, the study said that a good smile doubles the perception of having a university education. The article gives the example of an insurance agent, James (based on a real person). James was struggling to become a top salesperson when his girlfriend persuaded him to finally fix his crooked teeth, which she believed had been holding him back. Just a few months after finishing his procedure, James brought his dentist a celebratory bottle of champagne: He had become the top salesperson and doubled his sales income.
- 94% of people said that they are likely to notice a person’s smile the first time they meet them
- 86% think that people with good teeth are more attractive
- 84% think that a nice smile is an important factor in attracting a new partner
- 75% of people think a nice smile is important when trying to attract members of the opposite sex.
- 71% thought that people with nice smiles make friends easier
- 30% would not kiss someone with bad teeth
- 64% said that people with a good smile are more outgoing than those who don’t
- 77% said that people with discoloured teeth feel more self conscious
- The smile was the single biggest feature that people wanted to change about their face
- Smiling is an instant anti-depressant. We release endorphins when we smile. Your brain responds to the movements of the muscles in your face by releasing these chemicals. Endorphins are what make us feel happy, it’s the same chemicals that get released after a workout at the gym (or when eating chocolate), and they also help lower stress levels.
- A 1989 study (http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/smiling-happy1.htm) conducted by psychologist Robert Zajonc concluded that the act of smiling has a positive effect on various parts of the brain to promote feelings of happiness.
- Even forcing yourself to smile is as good as the real thing—the brain doesn’t differentiate between real or fake as it interprets the positioning of the facial muscles in the same way, according to the study called “Grin and Bear It: Smiling Facilitates Stress Recovery” (http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/smiling-facilitates-stress-recovery.html). The more we stimulate our brain to release this chemical, the more often we feel happier and relaxed. So next time you feel down, smile and fake it til you make it!
- Smiling really can improve your physical health. Your body is more relaxed when you smile, which contributes to good health and a stronger immune system.
- Improves heart health – With lowered stress comes improved cardiovascular health. Smiling relaxes the body and temporarily reduces blood pressure. As discussed in Sun Warrior (https://sunwarrior.com/healthhub/15-health-benefits-of-smiling) people who smile and laugh often are less likely to develop heart disease.
- Those who smile live longer. 7 whole years longer on average! Our emotional health closely relates to our physical health. Since smiling makes you happier, you will likely live a longer, more relaxed life than those who regularly frown.
What do all these studies tell us? They prove that smiling doesn’t just look good – having a healthy smile as well as smiling frequently can be a key in having a happier, more successful life. Now that’s something to smile about.
Nowadays there are many things a cosmetic dentist can do to fix your smile in quick, simple and painless way to get a smile you can be proud of. Talk to your dentist about your concerns and what options you have to improve your smile. Teeth whitening, braces, veneers, gum lifts, closing gaps between the teeth and other cosmetic dentistry nowadays are performed in as little as one day.
Author: Dr Rita Trakhtman, cosmetic dentist, East St Kilda