How to Smile When You Are Feeling Down in Homewood, AL

When you don’t feel good, it can help to act like everything is fine. The psychology of this takes some explaining, but carrying on with daily activities can improve your mood. Smile, even if you don’t feel like it. Frequently smiling appears to change a person’s brain chemistry, so they become less prone to depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure.

Maintaining and restoring dental health is important for many reasons, including the effect on your mood. Scientific research makes it clear that we have plenty to gain by smiling as much as possible. The most important way to put that advice into practice is to make smiling a habit, like creating a to-do list every morning. If missing teeth, yellow teeth, or crooked teeth undermine your confidence, practice smiling in private and consider talking to a dentist about cosmetic dentistry options like dental implants and porcelain veneers.

Benefits of Smiling

Deciding to smile at random for no particular reason can bring the same benefits of smiling when something makes you happy. Smiling enhances our relationships and makes us more attractive to strangers. Those relationship benefits make it easier to interact with strangers. If you look friendly, you are more likely to get a positive reception when you approach someone. A story on NBCNews.com described the health benefits of smiling:

  • Several studies over the years have found that smiling can reduce your blood pressure, and not just in the short term.
  • Smiling in a stressful situation can cut back on anxiety too.
  • There is at least some evidence that smiling more will help you live longer.
  • Finally, pretending to be happy by smiling can make you more comfortable.
  • Being happy supports your immune system.

If you are happy or just pretending to be, you become less vulnerable to depression. Many, many studies have shown that depression weakens the immune system.

Why Smiling Works

Almost everyone knows that smiling makes us feel better, but how does it work? Even if you force it, smiling affects your brain and the brains of people who see you smile. The secret lies in brain chemicals that our behavior can release.

Smiling causes the brain to release dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine makes us happier, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that low dopamine might cause depression. Seratonin relieves stress, so a lack of serotonin makes a person more prone to depression and aggressive behavior.

If you see someone smile, you may be tempted to smile without even thinking about it. Certain neurons, called “mirror neurons,” fire when we observe other people engaging in a behavior or activity. You see someone yawning or walking fast, and you are tempted to do the same. If you don’t like your smile because of stained or crooked teeth or missing teeth, practice smiling anyway, and contact our dental office to make an appointment.

How to Smile More

Random advice like “smile more” rarely helps anyone, so psychologists have offered some practical tips to fit smiling into the day:

  • If you find yourself in a tense situation, try to smile.
  • If you don’t feel super happy, remind yourself to smile at set times, just before brushing your teeth or leaving the house.
  • Smile at yourself in the mirror once or twice a day.
  • Smile when something bad happens, such as being stuck in a traffic jam or dropping some salsa on the carpet.

Taking care of yourself is also important because you will naturally feel more ready to smile when you are healthy. Good oral health is also important because you will feel better, and your teeth will look better.

Practice is Important

The old phrase “fake it ’til you make it” does apply to smiling as a mood booster. The more you do it, even if you don’t want to, the more likely you will see a significant benefit. It does not matter if you have anything specific to smile about, like a joke or a funny photo, because the brain does not know the difference between a forced smile and a “real” smile. Again, smiling, whether you have something obvious to smile about or not, is important. Practice, and be sure to take care of your teeth and gums. If you are confident that your teeth look great, it will be a little easier to show them.

Taking Care of Your Beautiful Smile

Like any other aspect of medicine, prevention is important. If you want to have great teeth, you need to brush twice a day, floss, and see your dentist regularly. Don’t start to smoke or quit smoking if you do. Cut back on sugar and processed foods. Go easy on drinks that stain the teeth.

No matter what you do, some staining is inevitable. You can minimize the problem with regular dental checkups and teeth whitening gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Combine those treatments with changes in your diet, and you increase your odds of having a beautiful smile for many years. If you think you need a crown, a dental implant, or something more involved, our dental office can help you consider your options.

Restoring a Weathered Smile

Poor oral health leads to gum disease, tooth loss, and more. People who experience those issues can feel embarrassed and less likely to smile, two things that can lead to depression. But, those cosmetic problems can be addressed with professional dental treatment.

If your teeth are not as attractive as you would like, cosmetic dentistry offers options. You can also whiten your teeth at home using home whitening kits, or you can see a dentist for a professional teeth whitening treatment. If tooth loss is the issue, you might want dental implants. If crooked teeth are the issue, invisible braces might be the right option. Whatever treatment option you choose, the investment in getting a new smile will be worth it.

Compassionate & Comprehensive Dental Care

Start working on getting your smile back by speaking to our friendly staff about your smile goals and make an appointment to visit our office. We can tell you about cosmetic dentistry options like dental implants, veneers, crowns, or teeth whitening.