What Does Science Say About Smiling?

The Benefits of Smiling

Smiling Makes You Happy – When we smile the muscles in our jaw contract, firing a signal back to the brain, which stimulates the ‘reward system’. This, in turn, increases our endorphins, otherwise known as the ‘happy hormone.’ So, if you want to feel better and happy, just smile. The feedback loop in our brains from smiling can alter the way we process emotions, which as a result, can make you feel happier.

Smiling is Heathy – Smiling also brings with it other health benefits. It can reduce anxiety as well as lower your blood pressure and heart rate. It has also been shown to decrease depression and boost your immune system.

Smiling may even help us live longer. A US analysis of baseball cards printed in 1952 found that players who didn’t smile in their photo lived to an average of 72.9 years while those photographed with a beaming smile lived to 79.9 years. A longer, happier life is certainly a wonderful reason to smile!  

Smiling is Contagious – A Swedish study found that it is hard to keep a straight face when you look at people who are smiling. Have you ever watched a TV program where someone smiles, and you inadvertently also smile? If you have it’s because smiling is contagious. Seeing others smile stimulates the mirror neurones to suppress our facial muscle control, which triggers a smile.

What Constitutes the Perfect Smile?

There are many different features that combined can make the perfect smile, such as:

  • Straight teeth with healthy pink gums.
  • Little to no discolouration.
  • No large gaps or missing or broken teeth.

The ideal smile is symmetrical with the mouth being no more than 50% of the width of the face. The lips of the mouth are the frame for the smile. The top lip shouldn’t expose too much gum and the bottom lip shouldn’t cover up more than half the height of your teeth.

Research conducted at Twin Cities University used computer-animated 3D faces to find the most successful smile. 802 people participated in the study, which examined a range of 3D computer-animated facial models with varying mouth angles, symmetry, and the extent of teeth shown in the smiles.

Participants rated smiles on effectiveness, genuineness, pleasantness, and perceived emotional intent. The researchers found the most successful smiles were those where both sides of the face were synced to within 125 milliseconds and the smile was symmetrical.

All these characteristics add up to a great-looking smile, one that captures the attention of others and makes you feel confident and happy.

Your Smile Reflects You

Irrespective of research, the most important element in any smile is that it is a healthy one and you are happy with how you smile. A healthy smile starts by regularly seeing your dentist and dental specialists to address any issues raised.

A beautiful smile makes you feel confident. Feeling confident in our smile leads us to smile more and so we enjoy the long-term health results that come from smiling. 

If you feel there are elements of your smile you would like to improve, then you might consider cosmetic dentistry through a dental specialist such as a prosthodontist.

If you want to improve the look of your smile and your dentist has recommended cosmetic dentistry, speak to one of our specialists before you proceed. Given the time and expense involved in complex treatment, it’s always worth getting a second opinion.

To make a no-obligation appointment, contact us online or call the surgery on (08) 9321 1632.