How Smiling Affects Your Health

May 18, 2022

Human facial expressions, transmit an array of information that can be received, read, and interpreted by others. By moving our faces using different muscles we can create thousands of different messages. All of which provides a visual cue to others of our overall emotional state. Additionally, they portray our feelings about our immediate environment, mental health, personality, and psychical health.  

What Is A Smile? 

A smile transmitted either consciously or subconsciously is a globally understood language. Across all cultures, a smile can represent friendliness, especially when first meeting a person. This can be said the same for anger through frowning, often recognised as sadness or disapproval. 

There are 43 muscles in the face, most of which are controlled by the seventh cranial nerve also known as the facial nerve. This runs from the skull down, just in front of a person’s ear. It is at this point it then splits into five primary branches: temporal, zygomatic, buccal, mandibular, and cervical. Each branch connects to different parts of the face, affecting different muscles. Therefore, allowing a person’s facial muscles to twist and contort into various expressions.  

The Benefits Of Smiling  

Reduces Stress, Heart Rate & Blood Pressure  

A person’s facial expressions can reflect their stress levels. Research has found that people who smile after a stressful task, even unauthentically, reduced their heart rate, than those who kept a neutral facial expression. The act of smiling releases small proteins called neuropeptides that work towards reducing stress. The work by facilitating messaging to the whole body when we feel certain emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, or excitement. Furthermore, research has shown that feel-good neurotransmitters, dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are all released when a person smiles. Not only relaxing the body but also lowering the heart rate and blood pressure.  

Boosts The Immune System  

Smiling can also boost your overall health by helping your immune system to function more effectively. Research has found that due to the release of certain neurotransmitters relaxing us, a person’s immune function improves. Smiling boosts immunity and increases white blood cell counts, protecting against infections. Therefore, smiling ahead of cold and flu season might benefit a person’s defence.  

Natural Pain Relief  

When in pain the last thing a person will want to do is smile. However, as previously mentioned, smiling releases endorphins, our bodies’ natural painkiller. The name of these hormones comes from the term “endogenous morphine.” “Endogenous” as they are produced in our bodies and morphine refers to the opioid painkiller. Natural pain relief without any side effects.  

Extended Life Expectancy  

In a study conducted in 2010, it was found that genuine, intense smiling is linked to longer life expectancy. Wayne State University suggested those who genuinely smile more often lived five to seven years longer than those who did not. Therefore, suggesting maintaining a happy, positive mood may be an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. 

Elevates A Person’s Mood   

A smile activates a pathway in the brain that influences your emotional state. Therefore, the overall act of smiling can trick your brain into feeling happy. When serotonin is released through smiling it serves as an anti-depressant and overall mood lifter. Many of today’s pharmaceutical anti-depressants also influence the levels of serotonin in your brain. However, by simply smiling, genuine or not, you do not have to worry about any side effects. 

Builds Trust Contributing To Success  

There is evidence that shows smiling regularly makes people appear more confident, increases their promotion chances, and makes them more approachable. Furthermore, research has shown that our credibility and trust can also be taken from our expressions. Therefore, the more a person smiles the better the first impression, and the more likely people will respond positively. 

Smiling Makes You Attractive 

Various research pieces have shown people are naturally drawn and attracted to people who smile. A smile evokes emotions of positivity which is an attractive quality. Furthermore, smiling makes a person appear younger. In a recent study, participates participants underestimated the ages of people who smiled or weren’t smiling when shown photos. In addition, 63% of people believe smiling in photographs improves an individual’s appearance. 

Spread The Smile  

Smiles are contagious and the power of a smile has been proven time and time again. In addition to the above benefits, it can also benefit those around you. The brain responds automatically to the facial expressions of other people and sometimes a person imitates them. Research has found that facial muscles do not only express emotions. They also have the ability to modulate subjective experiences of emotions and to initiate emotions. As a result, someone might notice another’s smile and smile unconsciously. Benefiting that person in the same way, creating an infectious loop of happiness. 

How To Get That Perfect Smile  

All the benefits of smiling are incredible, but if you are not happy with your smile, you are less likely to do it. However, there are many ways you can improve your smile, so you feel confident to show the world. These include teeth whitening, teeth straightening using dental aligners, and dental veneers.  

Teeth straightening, carried out by a trained orthodontist, is gaining in popularity and is now seen as a speedy and cost-effective way of gaining perfect straight teeth. 

One of the most popular ways to improve your smile is through Invisalign. These are a series of invisible braces made up of several clear aligners that are removable. The teeth aligners are custom made to fit over your teeth and are replaced every few weeks. Over time your teeth gradually move into the desired position over the course of the treatment via pressure. 

Smile With Grosvenor Dental  

Our orthodontic dentists perform the best cosmetic dentistry treatments in Stoke-on-Trent. If you would like to speak to a member of our team, call us today