The Psychology Behind Our Smile

We all know the power of a smile. When someone smiles at you, it’s instinct to smile back. Smiling has several benefits that aren’t as obvious as a returned smile but can do wonders for your physical and mental health.

What Happens When We Smile?

Smiling activates neural messaging in the brain that improve your level of happiness and potentially your physical health.

Smiling Lifts our Mood

Smiling activates the release or neuropeptides, tiny molecules that allow neurons to communicate and fight off stress. The neurotransmitters that make us feel good, dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, are released when we smile. The release of serotonin with a smile is nature’s own anti-depressant. It helps give our mood a lift in the same way the prescribed medication works by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain.

Physical Benefits of Smiling

The release of endorphins in the brain has physical as well as mental benefits. Endorphins allow the body to relax so the heart rate and blood pressure decrease. Endorphins are also natural painkillers that work by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain to block the perception of pain. While exercise is the main stimulant for the release of endorphins in the body, smiling often can provide some benefits with much less effort!

Like smiling, laughter has physical rewards. When we laugh, we improve our circulation, oxygen intake and overall mood. Our stress levels decrease and the perception of pain decreases.

How Others Perceive You

Research has shown that humans react positively to a person who smiles. When we see a person smile at us, humans have an unconscious, automatic response to mimic a smile thanks to the cingulate cortex part of the brain. A Scottish study found that men and women were more attracted to images of people who made eye contact and smiled compared to those images or people that didn’t.

Along with being trusting or caring, smiling is listed as one of the behaviours that can attract others. Seeing a person smile stimulates part of the brain associated with reward so a person can gain a sense of pleasure when they’re with a person who smiles. So next time you’re on a date, be sure to smile!

Not Everyone Benefits from Smiling

Unfortunately, some people feel self-conscious about their smile and have trained themselves not to smile. These people are also likely to not laugh out loud for fear of showing too much of their teeth and gums. By improving the appearance of a person’s smile, they not only feel more confident, but they can also gain the physical, mental, and social benefits that come with smiling.

Many of our patients are thrilled when they see their new smile for the first time. Some have endured years of embarrassment about the poor condition of their teeth. Knowing they can talk, smile and laugh without having to worry about what others might think of their appearance is a relief.

If you would like to hear what our prosthodontist can do to improve the look of your smile, contact the Western Prosthodontic Centre on 9321 1632 or contact us online.