As we are in the middle of the holidays, a Mother Teresa quote comes to mind: “Peace begins with a smile.” At Rondeau and Associates, we see a lot of people—from children to teens to adults—who are ready to begin their journey toward a confident, beautiful smile by getting braces. Many of them, especially adults of all ages, want braces because they are tired of being self-conscious about and holding back their smiles. And it turns out, smiling has even more benefits than what you might think. We dug around in medical research articles to find several proven benefits of smiling.
- Smiling reduces stress.
A study published in the Association for Psychological Science examined the effects of a smile while under stress. Participants performed stressful tasks, like putting their hand in ice water. Some group members were told to smile, some held chopsticks in their teeth to force a smile, and some just kept neutral faces. It turns out the smiling had an actual physical effect: those who smiled had lower heart rates after the stressful activities. The study shows that smiling can “reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response.”
- Smiling relaxes your body.
According to Psychology Today, the act of smiling sets off a reaction in your body—it releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. These relax your body, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, are a natural pain reliever, and lift your mood. Imagine all the feel-goods coming your way after braces when smiles come easy!
- Smiling makes you more attractive.
When you smile, people will be more attracted to you. A study called “Beauty in a Smile” in the journal Neuropsychologia watched the brain’s reaction when someone saw an attractive face, and then when they saw the attractive face smile. The person seeing the smile actually felt even more physically rewarded by the smile, indicating that smiling improves a sense of attraction.
- You will be smiled at more.
In 2002, researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden found that it is extremely difficult not to return a smile when someone smiles at you. People were told to react a certain way to expressions they were shown, but didn’t have control over their reactions. We naturally want to mimic those who smile at us in what the researchers called “emotional contagion.” So your new smile after braces might lead to more smiles from others in your future!
- You may live longer!
A 2009 study from Wayne State University examined the smiles of baseball players from 1952, and found that those with the biggest smiles lived the longest. This is supported by an article in Scientific American that noted that research by Psychosomatic Medicine found that women with a strong sense of humor “were found to live longer in spite of illness, especially cardiovascular disease and infection.” Talk about the best motivator ever to get braces and become more confident about smiling!
We love these researched facts about smiles, and hope you can smile more this season! If you are interested in getting braces to improve your smile and enjoy some of the above benefits more easily, visit us at Rondeau and Associates in London, Ontario for a consultation.