The Science of Smiling

The Science of Smiling

Oct 16, 2018

A smile is known as a positive sign practically universally. It often comes naturally to us, but like any skill, it can also be practiced to have a “better” smile. What, exactly, is the science behind smiling? Why do we do it and what happens as a result?

What Happens in Our Brain When We Smile

Technically, smiling is a biological response. When we experience a positive situation, neuronal signals travel from the cortex of the brain to the brainstem, which is the oldest part of our brains. The cranial muscle continues to carry the signal further to the smiling muscles in the face. It goes both ways though: just as a smile is the result of a positive experience, once the smiling muscles in our face contract, there is a positive feedback loop back to the brain to reinforce the feeling of joy.

How Smiling Can Affect Our Success

Smiling reduces the amount of stress-induced hormones that negatively affect the body and the mind. Because there is that powerful feedback loop between smiling and positive experiences, smiling can change our brain. The brain actually keeps track of smiles, so it knows how often you’ve smiled and which overall emotional state you are in. The more you’ve smiled, therefore, the more positive your overall mood and outlook will be. This can affect the way you interact with the world around you. Research has found a correlation (note: not causation) between people who had better smiles leading longer lives with happier marriages and fewer setbacks.

Smiling in Dentistry

Obviously, your dentist plays a big part in how you smile and how often. If there are features of your smile that you are unhappy with, such as crooked, yellow, or missing teeth, there will be a dental treatment available to improve it. Popular dental procedures include veneers, dental crowns, teeth whitening, dental bridges, and teeth straightening treatments such as Invisalign.

Special Needs Dentistry

Every patient that a dentist sees in the chair will have individual needs. Some patients will require particularly special care. Special needs encompass both physical and cognitive limitations. These patients will have the most successful dental appointments with a dentist who specifically caters to them. Special needs dentists have undergone additional training and have assistants and office staff who are also specially trained.

No matter the needs of your child, you can be sure that they are in good hands with Dr. J. Feel free to contact our office to learn more about the treatments we offer, or schedule an appointment with us online today.

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