Facts You Should Know About Smiles

There are many contagious illnesses out there that we don’t want to catch. From influenza to meningitis to COVID-19, the last thing we want is to contract those pathogens. But did you know that smiles are contagious too? It’s true. A variety of research studies have identified that when you are surrounded by people smiling or in the presence of someone you like who is smiling, forming a frown is next to impossible. And why would you want to frown? Smiles are one thing you should try to catch.

Aside from smiles being blissfully contagious, there are some other things you should know. Check out this list of 10 facts you need to know about smiles and the positive power they possess.

1. Smiles boost your overall mood and confidence.

Even if you are in a bad mood, a smile will likely help you turn that frown upside down. So if you are feeling down or anxious, try smiling. And if a smile doesn’t come quite that easy, try doing something you love to do. Listening to music, writing in your journal, or getting together with friends can help you find that smile and bring it out for the world to see.

2. Smiles are more contagious than the flu.

We hit on this earlier, but we need to reiterate exactly what this means. When you smile, your body releases neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. These are feel-good chemicals. So when you smile, other people are inclined to smile, and before long, there is natural chemically-induced happiness in the room. It’s almost like your smile is your very own superpower.

3. Smiling can relieve pain.

Remember those endorphins we mentioned earlier? Those same endorphins serve as neurotransmitters that send electrical signals to the nervous system. When you are faced with pain, those endorphins can help send a message to your brain to lessen your perception of pain. This entire endorphin release works much like morphine and codeine, two prescription drugs that help reduce pain. So when you make yourself smile, you do not only give yourself a natural mood boost, but you can also help lessen your pain.

4. Smiling can relieve stress.

Let’s keep with the natural chemical theme for a bit here. Those neuropeptides that are produced when you smile? Yep, they work to fight off stress and help your body to relax, thus lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.

5. There are nine smile types.

Though there are three basic types of smiles: the Mona Lisa smile, the canine smile, and the full-dentured smile, there are also smiles that are invoked based on your mood. Those nine smile types include the closed-lip smile, the twisted smile, the forced smile, the genuine smile, the sneer, the smug smile, the open-mouthed smile, the flirtatious smile, and the PanAm smile. Most of these smiles are ones we would be happy to be on the other side of. And don’t worry, if you aren’t delighted with your smile, getting a smile makeover from a dentist who understands smile psychology can be life-changing.

6. Babies can smile as soon as they are born.

Contrary to what people used to say, babies are born with the ability to smile! Though this early smile is reflexive, it is indeed a smile just the same. These early smiles may come from actions and situations that make your baby happy, such as being held by a loving parent, passing gas, or relaxing with a satisfied tummy. Social smiles, however, come a couple of months later and, as they sound, are tied to social situations and responses to other people.

7. Smiles can be recognized up to 300 feet away.

When it comes to facial expressions, people can recognize a smile from a distance far easier than recognizing a frown. We can determine if someone’s face is registering surprise or pleasure when they are up to 150 feet away. And smiles can be identified 300 feet away.

8. Smiling burns calories.

We’ll preface this point by saying that just because you intentionally smile every day, you aren’t going to burn enough calories to fit into that cocktail dress or pair of pants you were able to wear in junior high. But the truth is smiling burns more calories than frowning. When your body is at rest, your mouth often falls into a natural frown. Thus, it takes effort to smile, and smiling works a lot of muscles. If you are trying to do your body good, then making an effort to smile more will be worth it.

9. Smiling is intercultural!

No matter who you interact with or where you may travel to, a smile is a smile across the entire human race. And smiling is a language in and of itself. When you smile at someone else, you make yourself more approachable and can help others be more comfortable in your presence. Without saying a word, a smile can make others feel better about themselves too. No language or words required.

10. Getting the smile you want is easier than you think.

There are many people out there who aren’t happy with their smile. If your teeth are chipped, misshapen, crooked, or anything less than what they could be, a smile makeover might be what you need. Porcelain veneers permanently whiten teeth and can instantly brighten your smile. If you are missing a tooth, a tooth implant can fill in the gap and blend in with your natural teeth. A tooth-colored dental crown can restore teeth damaged from decay, chips, or cracks. With the right smile for you, it will be impossible for you to hold back from smiling in the future.

The Berrien Dental Team is ready to help you with your smile.

If you are ready for a smile makeover in St. Joseph or Berrien Springs, the Berrien Dental Team is prepared to help. It’s easy to schedule an appointment using our online form. We look forward to meeting you and seeing you smile!