29 Sep 2017
Scientists: smiling makes you better
The expression of emotions on your face are one of the most socially significant human behaviours, and so there’s been feverish scientific interest in this field.
For more than a century now - since Charles Darwin had a look at smiling, in fact - scientists have wanted to understand the role of emotional expressions as social signals of internal states.
It turns out that the biochemical processes set in motion when you smile actually make you feel better. That’s great news for anyone who feels comfortable smiling, but a shame for the many people who hesitate to smile because they feel embarrassed about their teeth.
For so many people sadly this can become automatic, until it begins to affect their personality and social life. We would urge anyone who is aware of suppressing their smile to come in for a cosmetic dentistry consultation. We’re always happy to discuss your concerns and give you guidance.
The idea that facial expressions aren’t just representations of internal states, but can themselves affect emotional experiences, was originally one of Darwin’s, and it’s called the Facial Feedback Response Theory.
Over the years it’s been repeatedly proved that facial expressions can increase the intensity of emotional experiences. It doesn’t seem to work the other way round however; inhibiting facial expressions doesn’t lower the intensity of emotional experiences.
Another wrinkle has been ironed out of the theory too: we now know that facial feedback merely influences rather than completely determines emotional experience, as some people thought.
Several studies into facial feedback have featured Botox injections, and the research tells us that having anti-wrinkle injections doesn’t affect the intensity of your emotional experiences (in case you were worried).
Interestingly, in one of these studies, 10 patients with depression were given Botox injections and two months later nine of them were no longer clinically depressed, although it wasn’t clear why.
So, what’s the science behind feeling better when we smile? Intentionally exercising your zygomaticus major muscle and orbicularis oculi muscle, which you can do by holding a pencil with your teeth, fires a signal to the brain, stimulating your reward system to release endorphins, your happy hormones.
By doing this you’ve just jump-started the positive feedback loop of happiness. When your brain feels happy, you smile; when you smile, your brain feels happier.
In a study using an electromagnetic brain scan machine and heart-rate monitor, British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars.
But unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. It’s been associated with reduced stress hormone levels, increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels, and lowered blood pressure.
If that’s not enough, smiling also makes you look attractive to others. So try it, and if you have been avoiding it, talk to us. We can help.
- Halloween treats that won’t hurt your teeth
- Stay aware to mouth cancer
- Five minutes with Podiatrist, Stephen Stewart
- A case of the dreaded in growing toe nail
- Thinking about tooth whitening?
- A pain in the (lower) back
- Taking care of older teeth
- Retainers - why wear them?
- Beautiful teeth on the big day
- Tips from our skincare expert: Protecting your skin from the sun
- Five minutes with our hygienist, Lina Ziliene
- What does GDPR mean to me?
- Why should I go for a hygiene appointment?
- Prosecco and teeth - what’s the deal?
- Caring for your feet
- Invisalign - the nearly invisible alternative to braces
- Planning a summer holiday this year? Don’t forget your teeth
- The Mouth is the Mirror of the Body
- Five-minutes with our Periodontist, Dr Phillip Christie
- New website focuses on patient needs
- Understanding costs
- What is a smile makeover?
- Five minutes with Rachel Murphy
- The social media generation
- Getting them off to the right start
- Five minutes with Dr Davina Graham
- Keeping kids teeth healthy!
- Five minutes with Dr Lisa Doyle
- Fastbraces in Leinster
- Double award win for Pembroke!
- Braces aren’t just for kids
- Getting greener with your dental health
- Ultherapy, the facelift without needles
- We’re having babies later than ever
- The world’s oldest dentist is a Neanderthal
- The Celtic roots of Halloween
- Need a mouthguard for the Schools Fitness Challenge?
- "Record teeth extractions in under-4s"
- Poor diet behind one in five deaths
- How to stay safe with Botox and dermal fillers
- Carlow men urged to get checked for high blood pressure
- We’re getting wiser about sugar
- We think our kids deserve better
- How dogs domesticated humans
- Men, remember to service your chassis once a year
- Proud end to Carlow’s All-Ireland campaign
- Handle mail order braces with care
- Nine weeks left for our Invisalign girl Natasha
- How our new scanner makes your life better
- Welcome to our new Bunclody dental practice
- Meet Karen. You can ask her anything
- Into the future with an Intero Digital Scanner
- Meet our new treatment co ordinator
- Invisalign Open Evenings in March
- Best Child Friendly Practice!
- Rejuve moves to Pembroke
- Making the shortlist
- Double Celebration
- Open Evening at The Granby Clinic
- Spooky Halloween snack ideas
- Our travelling dentists
- Teen Week
- Specialist Hearing Aid services now at The Granby Clinic
- What would we do without you?
- Invisalign Open Day
- Braces on a Saturday!
- Best Practice 2016
- Five Pembroke Dental entries shortlisted for 2016 Irish Dentistry Awards
- Physical therapist joins Granby clinic
- Team Spirit
- If you've got it covered, so have we!
- Elisa and Naoimi pass with flying colours!
- Thank you Carlow!
- A new face in town
- Foot care now available @Granby
- Pembroke Dental's new baby @Granby Dental
- Pembroke Dental Laboratory offers Valplast
- Periodontist and Implant Specialist joins Pembroke
- Congratulations to Kayla!
- Second Practice of the Year Award