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A person’s smile is one of the most important features of their physical appearance. In fact, according to an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) survey, virtually all U.S. adults (99.7%) surveyed believe a healthy smile is socially important.
In addition to feeling comfortable in social situations, not to mention on a date, there are plenty of other reasons to show off that big, healthy smile:
- You will feel much happier — Smiling often will actually have a positive influence on your feelings. Putting on a genuine smile will even trick your mind to feel better if you’re feeling down. Even grinning for 60 seconds can release serotonin and make you feel happier.
- Smiling boosts your immune system — Smiling actually changes the chemistry inside your body. Plenty of medical research have found that smiling consistent smiling can actually lower your heart rate, steady your breathing, and relax your entire body — all of which results in a stronger immune system.
- Smiling is linked to success — Individuals who smile more are far more likely to get a promotion. Numerous studies have even found that since smiling is linked to attractiveness, attractive people are perceived as more intelligent and friendly, subsequently providing more career opportunities.
- You’ll look younger — Smiling can also act as a natural facelift — pumping up the cells inside the skin and producing a youthful glow.
Despite all these glorious reasons to smile, some schools of thought are the exact opposite: stating that smiling is actually bad for you.
According to the Daily Mail, traditional, genuine smiles still might be okay and produce sufficient levels of serotonin, but specific types of smiling can actually be bad. Dominance smiles, also known as judgmental smirks, significantly increase people’s heart rates and the amount of cortisol they release, which is a stress-related hormone.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison added that affiliation smiles involving a closed mouth, as well as wide reward smiles refrain from triggering stress responses, these judgmental smiles do.
“The findings provide strong support for the hypothesis that the face contains valid, perceptible cues to physiological health,” said study author Dr. Ian Stephen of Macquarie University.
“The findings provide further evidence for the view that smiles do not necessarily constitute positive nonverbal feedback, and that they may impact social interactions by affecting the physiological reaction of people who perceive them,” read the report, published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The researchers are hoping that these findings might lead to future developments involving devices that can diagnose and individual’s health conditions based on his or her facial expressions.
As long as people are taking care of their dental hygiene, which includes properly replacing their toothbrushes (though only 75% of the population do that), and have reasons to smile, they should enjoy all the physical, physiological, and social benefits of boasting a big, healthy, genuine smile.