Something as simple as a smile doesn’t seem like it would have oodles of positive effects on our wellbeing, and yet medical research has shown time and time again that this is just the case. 

It’s clear that smiling not only boosts our internal confidence but also affects our orthodontic health. From its impact on orthodontic issues and treatment to its psychological benefits and effects on our health, here are a few reasons why smiling is great for our health.

Smiling Affects Your Psychological Health

Douglas Horton, an American clergyman devoted to trying to unite the different denominations of Christianity once said, “Smile, it’s free therapy.” He knew the truth of how smiling can affect our confidence, mood, and social interactions. According to this compilation of evidence, smiling can actually convince your brain that you’re happy! When you smile at someone, chances are they’ll smile back at you. Like yawns, smiling is contagious and helps us bond as humans.

As Charles Murray, Wellness Coach at Silver Cross Hospital says, “One important purpose of smiling might be that it creates social bonds. Scientists have even found that we connect in a physical way when we share a smile or a positive emotion. Our breathing and heart rates sync up, bringing powerful benefits to our health and well-being.”

With all the benefits of smiling, it’s no wonder that many people prioritize addressing orthodontic issues to help them improve their smiles. These patients receive the double benefit of fixing their smile and their oral health, reports a study from the Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.

But How Does it Work?

Simply put, the act of smiling is made possible by the muscles around the mouth. When you smile, the muscles and associated nerves send messages to your brain that release dopamine and serotonin. The mechanics of this function are best explained by Visible Body, an organization that designs software to help students and educators around the world learn about anatomy and biology.

“All of these muscles, specifically the zygomaticus muscles, are involved with smiling; they pull the orbicularis oris (the circular muscle of your mouth) upwards. These muscles are innervated by the various branches of the facial nerve (VII), which — when the muscles are activated — send signals to the brain that you are smiling.

From there, endorphins are released into the bloodstream from the pituitary gland and the brain and spinal cord from the hypothalamus. Endorphins are opiod (chemicals that bind to opiate receptors) peptides that act as neurotransmitters.”

Obstacles to Smiling and Orthodontic Treatment as a Solution

Some people are hesitant to smile because of certain dental alignment issues they may be self-conscious about. Anecdotally, the idea that smiling builds confidence is no shocker to most of us. In the same way, any issues that prohibit smiling can stand as obstacles to letting your inner joy shine through. Many people turn to orthodontic treatment as a necessary step to building that back. 

Not only can orthodontic treatment resolve common dental alignment issues like crooked teeth, overcrowding, overbite, underbite, etc, it also starts a journey to improve overall oral health. When a smile is properly aligned, the risks of dental problems like cavities, gum disease, jaw pain, TMJ disorders decrease. Additionally, early intervention and treatment is often the key to preventing typical long-term orthodontic issues. 

With many patients, simply re-aligning the teeth improves bite function and jaw stability. If you’re curious about how a personalized treatment plan with braces at Oppenhuizen Orthodontics could help you, check out our blog: 3 Frequent Orthodontic Issues That Braces can Correct

Taking Care of Your Smile Post Treatment 

To maintain the results achieved in orthodontic treatment, maintaining good oral hygiene is a must! Regular brushing, flossing, and check-ups with your orthodontist all provide the basis for the smiles to continue.

If orthodontic treatment took the path of braces or similar tools, committing to wear a retainer afterwards will preserve the hard work it took to get to this point. Our office includes an in-house lab that will apply same day permanent retainers for you to help keep your masterpiece smile in place for a lifetime.

If the smiles of our patients after their treatment ends is any indication, taking care of our oral health won’t be a chore. Check out Lydia’s experience creating a masterpiece smile with Dr. Oppenhuizen to see how!

If you are curious what your story could look like with Dr. Oppenhuizen’s help, do not hesitate to get started by getting in touch with our friendly office! We all know the power of a radiant smile and the Oppenhuizen Orthodontics team is here to help.