A healthy smile is a beautiful thing, but if you’re self-conscious about the way your teeth look or feel, you may be missing out on the many benefits that smiling has to offer. Here at Decatur Orthodontics, we think it’s important to understand how smiling regularly can have a positive impact on both your physical and mental health! This helps to highlight why you should be taking good care of your mouth by visiting a dentist regularly and having any orthodontic issues examined by an experienced provider like Dr. Francis. Let’s take a closer look at how to leave a lasting impression with a healthy smile, and how our expert team can help!
You can fake it ‘til you make it
When it comes to harnessing the power of a smile, you don’t even have to mean it! Your brain reads the muscle function behind a smile to unlock all the good stuff, so you truly can fake it until you make it. Yale University was even able to demonstrate this in action in a particular study that divided volunteers into small groups and assigned them specific tasks. One volunteer was secretly instructed to act upbeat and positive as they entered the room. When they came in with a smile on their face, the mood in the room noticeably improved! The same study also found that each person performed their task better and the group itself was more likely to achieve its goal.
Similar research was conducted by scientists at the University of Kansas. Subjects were given a list of things to complete, many of which were purposefully stressful. Some participants were asked to smile during these tasks while others were told to maintain a straight face. When researchers measured the heart rates of all the participants, those who had been told to smile had lower heart rates and their bodies showed increased resistance to stress. They also reported feeling more positive overall than those who were told to keep a straight face.
This shows us just how powerful a simple smile can be! It can take you from feeling negative to positive in no time at all, and also gives those around you a boost.
Give your mood a makeover
Even if your heart’s not in it, the simple physical act of smiling can do your body good! That’s because it causes your brain to release “happy chemicals” like dopamine and serotonin, both of which make you feel more relaxed and content. Not only that, but when you smile, neuropeptides and endorphins flow interact with receptors in your brain to produce natural pain relief and a positive feeling in the body. It’s kind of like throwing yourself a little feel-good party every time you smile!
Rewire your brain in a better way
Our brains are capable of changing and rewiring themselves based on what we experience on a regular basis, but they also have a natural tendency towards thinking negatively. When you smile, your brain becomes aware of it and keeps track of this activity. The more you smile, the more effective it is at breaking those old negative patterns and replacing them with positive ones! As your brain adjusts, it becomes easier to shut out negativity and think positively, which can boost your mood, enhance your creativity, and increase your self-confidence.
Improve your immune system
Smiling has been shown to have a positive effect on your immune system by increasing its capabilities. It also helps to increase the presence of antibodies, which are our body’s infection fighters. Remember how smiling can reduce stress levels? That’s important for your immune system, too. The less stressed we are, the less rigid our cells are. That means immune response cells can react to pathogens and other health threats much faster!
Give your total body health a boost
Many people mistakenly believe that braces are used to simply improve the appearance of a patient’s smile. While orthodontic treatment can certainly help patients achieve a beautiful smile, having your teeth and jaws properly aligned comes with a number of other benefits. In fact, orthodontic appliances like braces and aligners are functional in nature but also offer aesthetic and health benefits that can last a lifetime.
Oral issues that are left untreated can lead to health problems that may interrupt the ability to properly chew, swallow, and absorb nutrients. Misaligned teeth and jaws can also increase the risk for tooth decay, TMJ pain, chronic headaches, and can even impact speech. When your whole mouth is healthy, it can contribute to a better overall quality of life, from liking what you see when you look in the mirror to eating, sleeping, and concentrating better, too!
Set your smile up for success with our innovative treatment options
At Decatur Orthodontics, we offer patients of all ages a range of affordable treatment options designed to fit every smile. These include:
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are the most popular orthodontic treatment and have a long track record of correcting orthodontic issues from mild to complex. The brackets are made of high-grade stainless steel and affixed directly to the front side of your teeth, then connected by an archwire. Together, these will move your teeth into the desired positions over time. Today’s braces are sleeker and more comfortable than ever before, and you can even add a pop of personality to them by choosing fun colored elastics!
Also known as ceramic braces, these work in much the same way as metal braces but have the added benefit of semi-translucent brackets. When paired with clear, tooth-colored, or white bands, clear braces can be an incredibly subtle option for straightening your teeth! They do require a bit more attention to oral hygiene as the ceramic brackets are a bit larger and slightly more prone to chipping than other options. For this reason, we generally use them on the upper front teeth more often than the lower teeth and also tend to recommend them for older teen and adult patients only.
Invisalign Clear Aligners
Invisalign is our most popular alternative to traditional braces! This exciting system uses a series of clear aligners to move the teeth instead of brackets, bands, and wires. The aligners are custom-designed for your smile and switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movement of the teeth. Because they’re removable, aligners offer patients a bit more freedom and flexibility, including no food restrictions! They also make it easy to keep your teeth and gums clean throughout treatment, which is really important.
Decatur Orthodontics will give you a smile that leaves a lasting impression
Dr. Francis and the rest of our talented team are committed to providing every patient with improved oral health and a confident smile that leaves a lasting impression. There’s no dental referral necessary, so why not get in touch today and schedule a FREE consultation with us? There’s never been a better time to take the first step towards a beautiful smile you’ll want to share with everyone around you!