Smiles are an instant mood booster. No matter how bad you think your day is going, we can all recognise the benefits of a genuine smile. As well as releasing endorphins which give you an instant lift, a smile can be a stress-reliever, a relationship builder and even a pain reliever.
The power of a smile on your physical health
Your brain releases neuropeptides when you smile – these tiny molecules are essential to help fight off stress. They work alongside some of the other neurotransmitters you may be more familiar with, like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins.
There have been scientific studies carried out that prove that smiling not only has a positive impact on people’s ability to recover from stress, but it can also be a way to reduce your heart rate. Stress can have a negative impact on your body. In addition to potential mental health implications, it can cause everything from headaches to a weakened immune system and even sexual dysfunction and many other symptoms and ailments in between.
Emotional and mental health benefits are more reasons to smile
Did you know that even faking a smile can trick your brain into thinking you’re happy, even if only for a brief moment? NBC recently published an article with reports citing many medical professionals who confirmed that the brain couldn’t differentiate between genuine and forced happiness, so flashing a smile is usually the best way to improve your mood even when you’re not able to find much to be happy about.
Many health professionals are now advocates for mood-boosting activities like gratitude and mindfulness. A meditation instructor in the US told NBC that smiling would quickly shift her mood. She said she finds that a 10-15 second grin will provide immediate relief if her day “starts to go awry”.
Of course, mental health issues are real and nothing to be ashamed of, so if you feel you are struggling, it is essential to discuss your concerns with your doctor.
What if you are ashamed of your smile?
Unfortunately for some people, feeling self-conscious about their teeth can make them purposely limit how much they visibly smile or even stop them from going out at all.
There are even whole Reddit threads with people sharing their personal stories about how they live with a constant feeling of anxiety about their smile. Some great tips included practising smiling in front of the mirror and making sure you smile genuinely. Some users pointed out that the things we do to try and hide our discomfort can draw more attention to our smile – things like not opening our mouth or covering our mouth with a hand.
Finding ‘smile inspiration’ can also help. Celebrities like Georgia May Jagger, who grew up in a family with a combined net worth that most of us can only dream of, not only opted to keep the teeth she was born with but has also had a successful modelling career. All with a very gappy, almost buck-toothed grin.
Sometimes self-confidence initiatives aren’t enough. We should always love who we are, but that doesn’t mean we can’t choose to use treatments such as teeth whitening, veneers, braces or aligners to improve the things we like less about ourselves.
Teeth straightening for a better smile
With the popularity of affordable, less invasive teeth straightening options like clear aligners, it’s never been easier to embark on your smile makeover. If you’re someone who is scared of the dentist, you’ll be glad to know that some companies like StraightMyTeeth have a mail order option. You create your dental impressions at home with the impression kit, which you then send back using the pre-paid label. Your treatment plan and made-to-measure clear aligners are then custom-designed and sent to you at home.
How do clear aligners work?
Clear aligners are BPA-free plastic shells custom moulded to fit your teeth. They work by applying gentle pressure to move your teeth into the desired position. Unless you’re using a specific timed option like night-only clear aligners, you need to make sure you follow the recommendations for how long you keep them in each day.
Clear aligners can straighten teeth in just a few months, though some people need to wear them for longer. When you choose a mail order option like Straight My Teeth, you don’t even have to visit the dentist at all during your treatment.
Another benefit of clear aligners is that, unlike traditional braces, you can remove them. This means you’re still able to eat your favourite foods, not worry about what you drink and carry on with your regular oral health routine.
They’re also affordable. Whereas traditional braces and other orthodontics can be thousands of pounds, clear aligners from Straight My Teeth start from £1199. You can spread the cost of payment with monthly payment plans.
Ready to flash that smile?
If you’re someone who struggles to smile because you wish your teeth were straighter, a chat with StraightMyTeeth smile specialist may give you new reasons to smile. Fill out this quick online assessment now to see if clear aligners are a good option for you.
Grin and Bear It! Smiling Facilitates Stress Recovery. (n.d.). Association for Psychological Science – APS. Retrieved September 24, 2021, from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/smiling-facilitates-stress-recovery.html
Pietrangelo, A. (2020, March 29). The Effects of Stress on Your Body. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body
Spector, N. (2018, January 10). Smiling can trick your brain into happiness — and boost your health. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/smiling-can-trick-your-brain-happiness-boost-your-health-ncna822591
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Kishor Kumar Pradhan