Regardless of the occasion, your smile is the easiest and greatest gift you can share with your friends, family, and others around you. But there is no better time to think about this gift than Valentine’s Day.
Some studies have even shown that smiling has health benefits as well. But we often see patients that have the will to smile on the inside but keep themselves from doing so because of their teeth.
The act of smiling has been shown to reduce stress even when the smile is forced and not initiated voluntarily. A study at the University of Kansas showed that participants would show a decrease in heart rate and stress level when they smiled. While there was a greater level of stress reduction with a genuine smile, researchers were able to show that a fake smile can also have some benefits.
They studied participants by asking them to hold a pencil or chopstick across their front teeth. This created a fake smile but the researchers were able to show that our brains take in facial feedback and will initiate stress relief.
Creativity can also be boosted with smiling. A different study in 2013 showed that men who smiled during the day experienced more creative thoughts in terms of tackling the issues of their work. They were able to think of better and more creative solutions than those who did not smile. The creative process is enhanced with positive attitudes more than negative ones. Smiling can help you feel better and become more creative when it comes to learning new task and making decisions that actually solve problems.
A personal story from one of our patients has to do with her granddaughter. Grandma interacted with her since the day she was born. She shared with us pictures through the years as her granddaughter grew and told us about how nothing else in life gives her as much joy as being with her. Then it happened. The granddaughter looked up one day and asked, “Grandma, how come your teeth are so dark?” She shared with us how stunned she was and after that moment, she stopped or hid her smile from her granddaughter. It changed the way the two interacted. With the help of some porcelain veneers and whitening, we were able to help Grandma get back to sharing smiles with person she loved so much and not have to think about hiding her teeth.
If you keep yourself from smiling because of your teeth, there are many options that can get you back in the game. Don’t let what you were born with keep you from enjoying and sharing smiles with your friends and family.
Dr. James T. Gavrilos is located at 129 Park Avenue in Barrington. For more information, call 847-381-4040 or visit barringtondentist.com.