There's one simple thing you can do to make friends, get ahead in your career, and even find the love of your life: smile. Smiling can have multiple social benefits as well as physical and emotional benefits. When you open your mouth and show your teeth to the world around you, you're sending a message that goes beyond words.
Take a look at the information you share when you smile and see what you can do to help yourself feel more confident about showing off your pearly whites.
Smiling tells the world around you that you feel confident. It can shape how people perceive you, which can also shape your experience in the world around you. For example, one study that tracked a group of women for three decades found that those who smiled in their college photos were more likely to have successful, happy marriages and better overall well being than the women who weren't smiling.
When people look at the photos of the women, they assume that the women smiling in their pictures were happier and more competent than the women who didn't smile.
How You Interact
A smile is a shortcut way to tell other people that you are approachable and friendly. It's a quick way to say to others, "hey, like me." If you take the time to smile at others, you make them more likely to want to help you, if you need it. Smiling is a type of social reward that encourages people to go above and beyond for others, even if they don't know the person well.
Smiling has what psychologists call a "functional" purpose. Your smile can help steer a conversation or set the tone of an interaction. For example, you might smile when you see a friend or loved one for the first time after a long while. In that case, your smile tells the other person that you are happy to see them. It can also express love and caring.
When you are trying to get your way or win an argument, you might smile, too. In that instance, your smile isn't conveying love. It's a way to show that you are in control of the situation. It can be a positive thing, as it can help you convey confidence and assurance, even if you aren't feeling it.
Your smile can also help another person feel confident. For example, if you like and agree with what someone is saying, you might smile at them in encouragement.
Your smile also tells the world how much you care, not only about others but also about yourself. For example, if you reveal clean, healthy-looking teeth when you smile, that tells people that you take the time to brush and floss and to see a dentist for cleanings and check-ups.
On the other hand, if your smile reveals teeth that have plaque and tartar spots or visible cavities, you might send a message that you don't care about your health. That message can be interpreted to mean that you don't care about other things, as well.
Smiling Benefits Your Health
Your smile doesn't just reflect the health of your mouth, it can also have positive health benefits for you. When you smile, you are likely to notice a drop in your blood pressure. Smiling relaxes you and helps you feel at ease. That relaxation can help to improve your immune system's functioning so that you can better ward off illnesses.
Your Smile Can Make You Feel Better
You can trick yourself into feeling happier just by convincing yourself to smile. Researchers have experimented with the effects creating certain facial expressions can have on your emotions. They found that when people put on a smile, even when they aren't feeling happy, they soon start to feel happier and more upbeat.
The next time you're having a bad day or are feeling down, remind yourself to smile. You might soon find that the world looks a little brighter and you feel a little better.
Can You Makeover Your Smile?
While there are plenty of good reasons to smile, it might be the case that you feel self-conscious about how your smile looks. If you are missing teeth, have a chipped tooth, or have crooked teeth, you might be shy about smiling and showing your teeth to the world.
Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry can give you a smile makeover, making you feel more confident and giving you the boost you need to open up wide and smile.
A smile makeover can take multiple forms, depending on your needs and the condition of your teeth. If your teeth are stained, professional teeth whitening can help to brighten them. If you are missing teeth or have teeth that are severely damaged or cracked, dental implants can restore the missing or damaged teeth. The implants look and feel just like natural teeth.
Other options to help makeover your smile include veneers, which can cover up imperfections, and Invisalign, which straightens misaligned or crooked teeth.
If you aren't sure what your smile needs, your dentist can help. Talk to them about your concerns and what you would like to see improved and they can recommend the right treatments to give you a boost of confidence and to help you show your smile off to the world.
About Dr. Andy Gaertner
Originally from Antwerp, Belgium, Dr. Andy Gaertner earned his D.M.D from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. After practicing for several years in Belgium, he returned to Florida and set up Bliss Dental, where he offers general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry services to patients of all ages. Dr. Gaertner is a member of the American Dental Association and the Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity.