You may be surprised at the power of a simple smile. It’s obviously a signal to others that we’re feeling amusement or happiness, but there are very specific physical and psychological benefits to turning up the corners or your mouth and showing off those pearly whites.
When people feel self-conscious about their smiles, they may hesitate to show them off. Despite that, there are some great reasons to share your smile with others.
- Smiling is an international language
How you express yourself is important, and most of our communications, and we’re talking about both verbal and nonverbal communications, start and end in the face. A smile is cross-cultural. It means the same thing everywhere you go. It immediately tells someone that happiness is definitely happening. And studies have shown that a smiling face is much more memorable that one that is lined with a frown.
Not every smile is the same, of course, but they are often related. A clothed-mouth smile may indicate pride, while an open-mouthed smile is more likely to suggest amusement of some kind. Either way, a smile says you are relaxed and open to communication, making others more willing to approach and speak with you.
- People are nicer after encountering a smiler
So, we know that people are more likely to respond in a friendly manner to you if you’re smiling, but it actually turns out we’re more likely to respond in a friendly manner to anyone else after being exposed to a great smile.
In one researcher’s words: “Our results show that being smiled at by a stranger enhances subsequent helping behavior towards another person.”
That is basically a fancy way of saying that a warm smile transfers certain those feelings of warmth to another person. It turns out that your smile actually encourages others to pass it forward to a person who was not even the one who smiled at them in the first place.
- We smile when we feel happy, but we can feel happy when we smile
It’s a weird and wonderful cycle. Most people think that a smile is just the outward expression of the happiness you feel inside. But it turns out that we can also feel happy because we smile.
Since the early 80s, researches have seen how the movement of certain muscles in your face – particularly those involved with smiling – signal the brain that it is time to start feeling good. These muscles include the zygomatic major, which control the corners of the mouth, and the orbicularis oculi at the corner of the eye that flex when you’re smiling.
A smile releases neuropeptides in your brain that fight stress. It also provides dopamine and endorphins that can act as a painkiller. That makes a simple smile a literal anti-depressant that is contagious to those around you.
- Smiles are infectious
When you smile, people around have a natural tendency to smile back. It’s called body language mirroring, and it means that when you share your smile, you’re (hygienically) infecting others.
So even if you’re not really feeling all that happy or finding many reasons to laugh, and you smile anyway, you will very likely see their real smiles coming back at you. When that happens, you’ll start to mirror their body language and start to feel the smile for real.
- Showing off a beautiful smile builds confidence
Too many people feel like they have to hide their smile from others. Discolored, decayed, crooked teeth can make it hard to want to smile. Even things like gum disease and rampant halitosis can make people back away in the middle of a conversation. That kind of behavior in others can really damage a person’s self-confidence.
On the other hand, the more people speak directly to you and move in closer to the conversation, the more they smile back in imitation of your own smile, the more confidence you will feel in your own smile.
Do you have the smile you want to show off?
Don’t let dental flaws keep you from experiencing all these benefits. Cosmetic dentistry offers a lot of effective and simple solutions to restore your teeth and create an amazing smile. Whether it’s the shape and alignment of your teeth that has you concerned or the overall yellowish tone they seem to have adapted in recent years, theirs is a solution that can help you get the smile you really want.