Cosmetic dental treatments like veneers, teeth whitening and Invisalign Wagga have taken front and centre stage in modern dental care services. Social influences such as reality TV and the domination of social media puts our smiles in the spotlight.

More and more adults have become self-conscious about the flaws in their smiles. Embarrassment over smile imperfections makes it less likely for adults to break into a smile. One study showed that 45 per cent of Australians are unhappy with their dental appearance. They avoided smiling due to having crooked teeth, discoloured teeth or a gap-toothed smile.

But what is all the fuss about smiling and why do mental health experts believe we should smile more?

Big benefits of smiling

When asked the question – of what factors contribute to longevity and wellbeing, it is expected answers to include good quality sleep, a balanced healthy diet and plenty of exercise. Another simple factor that doesn’t take up time or is hard to implement or costs any money is the simple act of smiling.

We all accept that we smile and laugh when happy, but did you know that even forced smiles can stimulate the happy-feeling effect? One study that looked at the relationship between facial muscle activity and positive facial and body expressions was carried out by the University of South Australia. Researchers found out that muscle activity makes it more likely for the one who smiles to view their world in a more positive light. These findings support research that points to brain chemistry influencing positive mood.

Smiling prompts the brain to release more chemicals in the brain known to promote happy feelings. These neurotransmitters include endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. It is the job of serotonin neurotransmitters to help balance mood and encourage feelings of wellbeing. In addition to being the body’s natural pain reliever, endorphins are also useful in helping the body cope with stress. Dopamine is the go-to hormone to influence pleasure and happiness.

How smiling influences wellbeing

It is important to make smiling a conscious choice as part of promoting a healthy lifestyle. Smiling offers a great many rewards that encourage longevity and wellbeing, one of which is to draw others towards you.

Health experts believe that smiling contributes to living a longer life. Being positive and happy helps keep the immune system strong which is vital if the physical body is to fend off illness.

People who manage their stress levels are most logical to experience greater levels of wellbeing. Smiling and feelings of happiness counter stress which is why it is a good idea to practise smiling even when you don’t feel like it.

One of the attributes of physical attractiveness is a pleasing smile. A person who is considered attractive is more quickly perceived in a favourable light by others. Attractiveness and confidence go together and form a convincing argument that the person is intelligent, capable and approachable.

Professional dental care is the most reliable way to ensure a smile continues to stay happy and healthy.

Any surgical or invasive medical procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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