A new study in Experimental Psychology shows that even if you’re not feeling happy, moving your facial muscles to form a smile may trick your mind into being more positive.
Participants were asked to evaluate a range of facial expressions and videos of people walking in various moods. When they held a pen between their teeth, forcing their facial muscles to replicate the movement of a smile, it changed their perceptions of what they saw.
“When your muscles say you’re happy, you’re more likely to see the world around you in a positive way,” said lead author Dr.Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos.
In our research we found that when you forcefully practise smiling, it stimulates the amygdala – the emotional centre of the brain – which releases neurotransmitters to encourage an emotionally positive state.
This lends a bit more credence to the value of turning your frown upside down – and earlier research suggesting that facial expressions can indeed impact how we feel.
Of course, in these days of mask-wearing, self-consciousness about one’s smile may seem like a non-issue. Yet these are also days of Zoom meetings and other video conferencing that can make some of us even more aware of our appearance – and ways in which we’d like to improve it.
Fortunately, there are lots of solutions for straightening out a crooked smile, brightening a smile, replacing missing teeth, or otherwise improving a smile – safely and biocompatibly.
While there are tons of smile whitening products available over-the-counter today, nothing can beat the smile brightening done by a dental professional. For one, we can remove the stains safely, protecting the integrity of your tooth enamel and the health of your gums. We can also be sure that your final tooth shade isn’t too bright but harmonizes with your natural skin tone.
And if you have crooked teeth or a misaligned bite? A gappy smile? “Invisible” aligners like those of the Clear Correct system we use here in our Arlington dental office can gently guide your teeth into their optimal position.
Chips, cracks, or other physical damage? Bonding can come to the rescue. Porcelain veneers can be placed to completely change the look of your teeth all together. And where teeth are missing, ceramic implants can be placed, looking, feeling, and functioning like the real deal.
Teeth, of course, aren’t the only concern. Procedures like gum contouring can help change the appearance of your gums in a way that complements your whole smile.
Here at Pride Dental, we can even do laser facial aesthetics to enhance the smile makeover you choose – remove wrinkles, tighten up sagging skin, give your lips a fuller appearance. All these procedures are non-invasive. No anesthetic is required. It’s a pain-free procedure. No sutures or fillers involved.
With so many options, you won’t have to force a smile to feel better. You’ll smile because you’re already looking and feeling like you’re at the top of your game!