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The powerful impression of a smile

Brought to you by Dr. Alan Neal - Neal Family Dental - FAMILY DENTISTRY INSIDER -

NEAL FAMILY DENTAL - Dr. Alan NealWhat’s in a smile? A lot, as it turns out! Smiling requires 12 muscles, 6 on each side of your face: The zygomaticus major and minor, levator labii superioris, levator anguli oris, risorius, and orbicularis Oculi. The orbicularis oculi, or eye muscles, are by far the most important; without them, your smile doesn’t just appear less sincere, it is less sincere!

Research dating back to the 1860s has shown that a true smile incorporates these little muscles around the eye to signify true enjoyment. This creates a positive feedback loop that can have a lasting impact on mental health: In short, our brain feels good and tells us to smile, we smile and tell our brain we feel good, and so on. That’s why even one smile can elevate your mood as much as 2,000 chocolate bars would!

But just how far can a great smile really go? In a thirty year longitudinal study conducted at the University of California-Berkeley, researchers examined old yearbooks and found women who had the best smiles in their photos compared to the rest. Those with the widest and brightest smiles ranked highest in career success, fame and fortune, marriage length, standardized test scores, and, most critically, general happiness!

Not only can a superior smile help you be happier and achieve greater success, it may very well help you live longer. In a 2010 Wayne State University research project, baseball cards from 1952 were examined to determine whether smiling has an effect on lifespan. As it turns out, players who didn’t smile lived to be an average of 72 years, while players who did smile lived to be nearly 80.

So what can you do to make the most of your smile? For one thing, spend more time around children. Up to 14% of adults smile less than five times per day, whereas children can smile as much as 400 times in a single day! Another great tip is to practice smiling in the mirror until it becomes a more natural reaction that incorporates your eyes. Thinking of something funny may help jumpstart your smile, as will thinking positive thoughts.

Smiling is a universal phenomenon. It crosses all cultures and is a natural human reaction; ultrasound technology has even proven that we are actually born smiling. So keep on smiling, and if your smile needs a little help, schedule an appointment with Neal Family Dental in Canby today, and let us help you create the smile of your dreams.

Neal Family Dental

333 NW 3rd Ave, Canby, OR 97013

(503) 266-2705