The Secret Power of your Smile

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08/08/2014

Your smile harbours much more influence than you might have realised.

In fact, your smile not only affects your facial features, it can actually impact your mental and emotional state as well as your physical health. Smiles are a universal language – and we mean that quite literally. Paul Ekman, who is a leading expert on facial expressions, conducted a study and discovered that smiles have the same meaning across a vast range of different societies. He studied a tribe in Papua New Guinea which had had no contact with Western civilisation, and found that a smile meant the same thing to them as it would to you and me.

Charles Darwin SmilesCharles Darwin himself studied the science of smiles

Unlike what you might expect, it is not simply our emotions that control when we smile. Charles Darwin theorised that not only do we smile when we feel good; the act of smiling actually makes us feel better! So when you’re having a bad day, take a moment to stand in front of the mirror and smile at yourself. We know it sounds silly, but you’ll be surprised with the result.

We know how much your smile is worthshutterstock142815544

Research conducted by a team in Britain found that one smile can produce the same amount of brain stimulation as up to 2000 chocolate bars! A smile is much healthier for you too. Research has shown that smiling can help to boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure and decrease stress levels. So keep on grinning. The same study also found that smiling can be about as stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 Pounds Sterling in cash! That’s one expensive smile.

You have no control over your smile

Seriously, no control. Two separate studies conducted by Uppsala University in Sweden found that when a person smiles at you, this will actually suppress the control you would usually have over you own facial muscles, persuading you to smile. Try keeping a straight face at a friend whose smiling, it’s harder than you think.

The only catch?

Your smile has to be genuine! Our brains have the innate ability to spot an insincere smile – just take a look at this picture? Which one do you prefer?

Smile study

(Copyright Paul Ekman 2003, “Emotions Revealed,” Owl Books, 2007.)

The way that our brains pick up on this is that we actually mimic a smile that is presented to us. If the smile is fake, we automatically return a fake smile. If the smile is genuine, our brain will tweak the same areas of the face to respond with a genuine smile, this is called a Duchenne smile.

We don’t smile as much as we used to

It is estimated that most adults smile around 20 times a day, and happy people smile around 40-50 times a day. Whereas, a child will smile approximately 400 times a day! Smiling can have an immediate impact on your current emotional state, even if it starts out as a fake smile; it can gradually turn into a genuine one.

In case you haven’t yet realised, smiling is a pretty amazing thing. Unfortunately, people who lack confidence in their teeth often hinder or hide their smile, and to their detriment. There are a variety of ways that you can enhance your smile, and we can always find a solution to your dental problem. Take a look at our treatment pages to find out what the best option for you might be.

If you’d like to improve the look and feel of your smile, contact us at Precise Dental to arrange a consultation at our Edgecliff, Beaumont Hills or Kellyville plaza dental clinics and we’ll have you smiling in no time.