They say that smiling is contagious. If someone smiles at you, then you can’t help but smile back. Of course, in some societies and cultures, smiling isn’t always appropriate!
Still, for many of us, a smile is a sign of reassurance that we’re welcome and the people around us are friendly. Smiling is a really important part of how we communicate, and it can even be a big part of your job if you’re customer-facing.
Did you know that smiling releases happy hormones called endorphins to relieve stress and trigger a good feeling in the mind? Some studies suggest there is a feedback loop involved. This means that the smile can trigger the release of the happy hormones, and the hormones make us smile!
The muscles involved with smiling are the zygomaticus major muscle and orbicularis oculi muscle. And yes, exercising them can release the endorphins too – you really can make yourself happy!
Of course, not every smile brings happiness. Here are a few reasons why smiling doesn’t feel quite as good as it should:
Pain In Your Jaw
Jaw pain can occur when we have injured our faces, had a tooth extraction, or a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. It’s not clear what causes this pain, but stress or teeth clenching could be part of the problem. To help relieve the pain in your jaw, it is important to speak to your doctor and your dentist to rule out any other problems.
You might choose to gently exercise the muscles of the face that affect the jaw. Smiling can often happen without you thinking about it, causing more pain. Perhaps this is where the phrase “grin and bear it” comes from! If it hurts to smile, speak to your doctor about the best pain relief.
Pain In Your Gums Or Teeth
When you have gum disease or tooth decay, smiling can aggravate it. That blast of cool air touching a sensitive tooth or the sensation of your inside mouth touching an angry gum is very unpleasant. It is essential you speak to a dentist urgently if you have sores on the gums or excessively sensitive teeth. A filling or even antibiotics might be required to resolve these problems.
You might work hard to perfect your skin, hair, and makeup to ensure you’re looking your best. Do you put the same effort into your teeth? Genetics might play a part in the problems you’re suffering, but incorrect oral hygiene methods are most commonly the cause.
Every mouth is different. Some people get away with a quick brush once per day. Others might have to floss, use interdental brushes, and manually brush their teeth after every meal. It is good to use mouthwash to ensure all the bacteria is neutralized. It’s hard work, and it’s easy to fall out of the routine. Still, excellent oral hygiene can drastically reduce the risk of cavities, gum disease, and tartar that can cause pain.
Not Happy With The Look Of Your Teeth
Not all of us are born with perfectly straight and white teeth. Even if you had orthodontic braces as a teen, teeth could still move, and you’ll lose your straight edge. Most of us wish our teeth were whiter as well. Most of these problems are considered cosmetic, so chances are you’ll have to pay a premium to fix them. Still, it is worth investing in your teeth to make your smile a winning feature.
If you’re going to invest in teeth whitening, it’s really important you do it safely as well as effectively. Whitening in the chair at your dentist’s surgery is much safer and usually provides better results than doing it at home. As for straightening? There are several options, but all will take some time to get the results you want. It is worth it if it gives you the confidence to smile even more.
It’s Your Job To Smile
Some of us have to smile as part of our jobs. Do you ever get home from work with an achy face? The last thing you want to do is smile even more. However, it’s still worth smiling as naturally as you can. Remember those happy hormones? They may be released even with fake smiles, but to get a good boost of happiness, try to smile naturally too. Eye contact is really important when you smile at someone. Try it in a mirror when you’re feeling blue.
Smiling is so important in our relationships, our work, and for our health. How many times do you smile per day? Be happy.