The Benefits of Smiling in Waterford, MI

Older woman smiling.

Why You Should Smile Every Day

Smiling is positively contagious–whether it’s authentic or not. Smiling has the ability to make you instantly happier and improve the moods of those surrounding you, which may sound cheesy (no pun intended), but it’s true. Studies show that when we smile, the muscle contraction releases chemicals to the brain that help us in numerous ways, such as reducing stress. Smiling has physical, mental, and interpersonal benefits and if the state of your smile is preventing you from smiling, the dental experts at Oakland Family Dental can help.

With our comprehensive dental services, we can help you get your oral wellness in order, boost the aesthetics of your smile, and restore its functionality. From relieving stress to living longer, smiling is associated with numerous health benefits. Learn why you should smile more and how it can improve the quality of your life.

The Science of Smiling

When we smile, it tells our brain that we are happy, releasing neurotransmitters to let the rest of our body know what’s going on. Neurotransmitters are small molecules that help neurons (the message system of the body) communicate with each other, carrying messages to the rest of the body. Neurons are fast-acting and produce a quick response. A variety of neurotransmitters are released when we smile that help the body to relax, as well as lower blood pressure and heart rate, such as: 

  • Endorphins: Provide pain relief and relaxation
  • Seratonin: A mood stabilizer and responsible for feelings of happiness
  • Dopamine: A key player in your brain’s reward system and is responsible for feelings of pleasure 
Friends all having fun on the beach.

These particular neurotransmitters not only help you feel happy, but also greatly reduce stress. According to studies, you don’t have to genuinely smile in order to reap the benefits. Although it should be noted that “surface acting,” wherein you’re consistently faking a smile, should be avoided.

Mental Health Benefits Of Smiling

Research shows that the endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine released to your brain during smiling are responsible for making us feel relaxed and happy, which can naturally lead to an improved mood through:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Social acceptance
  • Increased confidence

Your brain will interpret these neurotransmitters regardless of the genuineness of your smile. Next time you’re feeling sad, try to smile or laugh. Even a forced smile has the power to improve your mood and promote positive thoughts.

A couple cooking dinner.

Smiling can also reduce anxiety, lower stress levels, and help alleviate feelings of depression. Regularly smiling can even train and rewire the brain to produce these neurotransmitters on a more regular basis. 

That being said, if you find that many of your smiles are forced or you find yourself experiencing levels of sadness, anxiety, or depression for at least two weeks, you should consult a medical professional, as it could be an indicator of a mood disorder. 

A couple kayaking.

Relieve Your Stress & Anxiety

A hectic schedule can easily cause a strain on our mental and physical health. We can’t run away from it, but there are ways to alleviate the pressure and help you get through your day.

Research shows that smiling when you’re stressed can decrease anxiety and lessen tension. As mentioned earlier, smiling releases feel-good chemicals that reduce stress levels. Try smiling the next time you’re in a stressful situation, and you may notice a difference.

Physical Health Benefits Of Smiling

Not only does smiling make you look more approachable, but research shows it can add up to seven years to your life. By shining a simple grin, you can live a healthier, longer, and more optimistic life.

Smiling has also been proven to reinforce medical treatments and care. It can’t cure health problems, but the risk of developing health problems can be reduced by regularly smiling and laughing. Smiling also releases cortisol in addition to endorphins, which can have a variety of effects, including:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving endurance
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Lowering heart rate
  • Reducing pain
Couples having dinner together.

Cortisol is important, but having too much can have a negative effect on both the mind and body. Smiling and laughing help release cortisol and endorphins followed by an influx of serotonin and dopamine, which reduces stress and make us feel happier. 

Laugh for Healthier Lungs

People who laugh tend to live longer, cope with stress better, and experience more happiness in their daily lives. Laughter expands your lungs, stimulates the replenishment of your body’s cells as well as stretches and tones abdominal muscles. Though not on the same level as cardiovascular exercise, laughing is helpful to the health of your lungs and overall health.

Sustain a Healthy Heart

A laugh or a simple grin can go a long way. A 2009 study found that when you laugh, there’s an immediate increase in heart rate that’s quickly followed by a period of muscle relaxation. This process lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.

To ensure a healthy heart for your future, continue to laugh and smile every day, even if some days you have no desire to. You’re not only improving your heart health but also pursuing a happier life.

people smiling

Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Have you ever caught yourself smiling back at a stranger? This response is called facial mimicry, or when your brain unthinkingly reflects an emotion. It’s a positive impulse that allows you to spread happiness anywhere you go. Similar to how a yawn causes others to yawn, some studies show that just seeing a happy face can help reduce the stress of those around you. 

When interacting with people, we take in a lot of information. We judge their expression, mannerisms, etc. to determine what sort of person we are dealing with in order to keep us safe. A smile can communicate to others that you are friendly, approachable, and trustworthy. People are normally attracted to others who look friendlier and happier, which can help build strong relationships. 

A study found that optimistic people are also more likely to maintain long-term relationships and have better interpersonal skills. The next time you interact with someone, try smiling— the more genuine, the better. You’ll not only uplift your own mood, but you’ll notice a change in their expression, as well.

Services With Your Smile In Mind

Dr. Sheehan can help you experience the incredible benefits of smiling. Your one-of-a-kind smile offers a range of perks that can enrich your life. We create personalized treatment plans with our patients in mind.

A Healthy Happy Smile

If tooth decay or gum disease prevents you from smiling, we offer high-quality general services and periodontal care to help support a healthy smile and get your oral health in order. Visiting Dr. Sheehan for regularly scheduled dental cleanings is a great way to ensure your teeth and gums are free from bacteria and infection.

Improving Your Smile’s Appearance

We also offer a variety of cosmetic procedures designed to put a little dazzle in your smile. If your smile doesn’t look quite the way you want it to look, Dr. Sheehan can help you achieve your dream smile in as little as one appointment.

Don’t Let Tooth Loss Hold You Back

If you’ve been hiding your smile because of tooth loss, schedule a consultation with Dr. Sheehan. At Oakland Family Dental, we can restore your oral health, improve the functionality of your teeth, and enhance your appearance with our restorative dental services. We highly recommend dental implants for those looking for a permanent solution with maximum protection against jawbone loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the dental implant procedure work?

Dental implants are placed directly into the jawbone, replacing the roots of missing teeth and preventing jawbone deterioration. The implant is made out of titanium, allowing it to fuse naturally with your jawbone in a process called osseointegration.

The artificial root then allows Dr. Sheehan to secure your choice of restoration so they feel comfortable and blend in with your surrounding teeth. Since there are several types of dental implants available to you, each surgery will be performed differently according to the specific treatment plan you chose.

Who is a candidate for dental implants?

Dental implants are a permanent and comfortable solution for patients missing one or more teeth. The ideal candidate for dental implants:

  • Has enough bone in the jaw to support an implant
  • Is in good overall health
  • Is free of gum disease

In many cases, we can provide gum disease treatment or bone grafting to ensure patients’ mouths are prepared for the dental implant procedure. If Dr. Sheehan determines that implants aren’t the best solution for you, don’t worry—we’ll work together to find the most effective method to restore your smile.

What cosmetic procedures do you offer?

At Oakland Family Dental, we offer cosmetic bonding, porcelain veneers, as well as Invisalign® to help improve the appearance of your smile.

What if I have gum disease?

The earliest stages of gum disease are reversible, so the sooner you seek treatment, the better. We can treat you easily and conveniently with laser therapy designed as a gentler approach to gum health.

Work Towards Your Best Smile Today

Smiling has the potential of improving your relationships as well as your physical and mental well-being. You shouldn’t have to be afraid of smiling due to the state of your oral health. With our comprehensive services, the experts at Oakland Family Dental can provide high-quality treatments and procedures so that you’ll no longer have to hide your smile.

Give our Waterford office a call today at (248) 678-0384 to learn about your options or simply fill out the contact form by clicking the button to the right. We’re happy to help you get the smile you deserve and smile confidently once again.