Many people seek orthodontic services to adjust misaligned teeth and achieve a healthier, straighter smile. However, you may not realize that the effects of a brand new smile go far beyond your oral health. Mental Health Awareness Month is the perfect time to discuss the various psychological benefits of a bright, beautiful smile and the many ways that smiling can improve your mental health.
Studies have shown that smiling is better for you than you might think, from relieving stress to boosting your immune system. Keep reading to learn how smiling can improve your mental health and overall well-being.
Release Endorphins and Reduce Pain
Endorphins, such as dopamine and serotonin, are our bodies’ “happy hormones.” Essentially, they make us feel good inside and are naturally produced by our immune systems to help us cope with pain or stress. Interestingly, endorphins are also released when we smile and work to elevate our mood, alleviate stress, and induce relaxation. They also have moderate pain-relieving benefits that temporarily reduce minor aches and pain. In short, smiling can act as a natural drug.
Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Just as smiling triggers the release of endorphins, it also signals the brain to release tiny proteins called neuropeptides. Neuropeptides help to lessen stress, which is a significant cause of anxiety. Luckily, even a forced smile can help you reap these benefits. So, it’s possible to trick your brain into relaxing just by smiling – even if you’re faking it.
Strengthen Your Immune System
Remarkably, many studies have shown that smiling can substantially increase the immune system’s capabilities. Smiling can increase your body’s number of infection-fighting antibodies and help your immune system function more effectively. As a result, you may be more resistant to serious diseases and better able to fight off minor illnesses.
Boost Your Mood
There is a strong connection between facial expressions and a person’s mood. When we feel happy, we smile, and when we feel sad, we frown. Luckily, the reverse is also true. Consequently, when we smile, we can trick our brains into thinking we’re happy and naturally boost our mood! So, the next time you’re feeling down, try flashing a smile. You may be surprised at how effective flexing those facial muscles can be.
Achieve the Smile of Your Dreams
Anyone can enjoy the mental health benefits of smiling, but it’s also important to have a smile that you can be proud of. At Flatirons Family Dental & Orthodontics, we specialize in helping our patients achieve beautiful, straight smiles and feel like the best version of themselves. If you’re interested in learning more about orthodontic treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment.