There’s nothing like a friendly smile to brighten up your day. A simple smile can influence your mood, regardless of whether you feel happy or not. There are many benefits to smiling and laughing that many people may not realize. The mere act of smiling is known to enhance your mood, lower stress and even possibly prolong your life.

Whether you show off your pearly whites, cheese, smirk or grin, there’s no denying the feel-good power of a happy facial expression. Our team at Plancich Dental want to help put that smile on your face today—here are the fast facts!

Group of friends smiling

The Science Behind Smiling

When you smile, neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are released into the brain. These neural messages are known to cause feelings of happiness. They help relax the body, as well as lower heart rate and blood pressure.

Smiling is also contagious. According to neuroscientist Marco Iacobini, when we see someone smile, our mirror neurons are triggered to smile back. Our mirror neurons help us understand other people by imitating their actions, which lead us to simulate the emotions associated with their actions. This means that if you smile at someone, it’s likely that they will return the favor.

Your confidence is higher when you smile. In a University of Pittsburgh study, researchers found that increased smile intensity is associated with a greater level of trust. This means that you are more likely to be viewed as reliable and sincere depending on your facial expression.

What Happens When We Smile?

When we smile, there are two muscles that we activate. The first muscle is called the zygomaticus major, which controls the corners of your mouth. This is most commonly known as the “social” smile. The second muscle is the orbicularis oculi. This muscle encircles our eye sockets and gives us a sincere smile. If you fake a smile, your eyes will likely give it away.

Smiling can even trick your brain into believing that you’re happy. When you smile, the brain sees the muscle activity and assumes that something is humorous. Even if it’s for a short period of time, a smile will boost your mood and can reduce stress.

Keep a Smile on Your Face

Here are some tips to help make you smile throughout the day:

-Grab a group of friends and participate in activities that you enjoyed as a kid. Research shows that children often smile upwards of 400 times a day, while the average adult smiles only 20 times a day.

-Playing with your pet or someone else’s. Some universities and college campuses have partnered with local therapy dog programs to bring in certified dogs to help in de-stressing students.

-Subscribe to funny or heartwarming accounts on social media to see positive content throughout the day.

Schedule an Appointment at Plancich Dental

There are many benefits to smiling that you may not realize. However, it can be difficult to smile often if you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable with the appearance or health of your teeth. If you are looking to improve your smile, schedule an appointment at Plancich Dental today. As your Tacoma holistic dentistry, we’re here to get your teeth healthy, beautiful and smile-ready. If you have any questions regarding oral care, don’t hesitate to contact our office today.