If you were told that your smile and your mood are related, your first thought might be, “Duh.” Smiling is a universal sign of happiness, openness, excitement, and a host of other positive emotions and moods. However, research suggests that smiling doesn’t just reflect your mood; it might actually affect it, as well. Your Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania, explores the influence that a smile can have on your mood, and vice versa.
Examining Smiles and Dispositions
There are countless clichés about smiling, such as “smile and the world smiles with you.” Actually, that one has proven the subject of research across the globe into the relationship between smiling and emotion. In the search to discover whether we smile because we’re happy, or we’re happy because we smile, studies suggest that the visual expression of happiness can actually trigger the same emotion in those who witness it. In one trial, participants were asked to look at photos of varying expressions, including smiling, frowning, and neutral faces. While looking at smiling pictures, the participants had trouble forming frowns on their own faces. Advanced monitoring equipment registered small twitches in the facial muscles that appeared to indicate that, when looking at an emotional expression, the participants weren’t in full control of the muscles needed to smile and frown. In short, your smile (and your frown) is contagious to those around you.
The Dental Benefits of a Better Mood
You may not need scientific research to tell you that people seem more approachable when they smile than when they frown. A confident, quick smile can convey a sense of friendliness, confidence, and competence that can improve your social and professional interactions. On a more practical level, smiling more instead of dwelling on negativity can significantly influence your dental health. Stress-related issues, such as habitual teeth-grinding, TMJ disorder, and neglected hygiene, can wreck your mouth’s proper function and require extensive dental treatment to correct.
Learn More with Your Encinitas Periodontist
To learn more about the connections between smiling, your mood, and your quality of life, or if your smile is affected by a confidence-shattering dental issue and you’d like to seek treatment, contact Dr. Kania at our Encinitas periodontist’s office by calling (706) 642-0711. Located in the 92024 area, we proudly serve patients from Encinitas, San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, La Costa, and the neighboring communities.