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Smile Matters: Dr. Arpi Mehta on health benefits of smiling

benefits of a smile
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“You’re never fully dressed without a smile.”

A smile is possibly one of the most powerful forces in the world. It has the potential to make someone’s day or get you out of a bad mood in an instant. It is a gratifying action that replaces negative thoughts and emotions with a feeling of positivity, and not just in your own day, but in someone else’s too. A smile has not just a psychological effect, but a physical one too.

Take it from the Expert

Just as a smile boosts your psyche and confidence, having a crooked or protruding smile can have a reverse effect. That is besides the physical effects that it has on chewing, breathing, etc.

Dr. Arpi Mehta (M.D.S.) is a Mumbai-based orthodontist who stresses on the importance of smile correction at an early age. She says, “Children who have a perfect set of teeth tend to display more confident smiles and demeanours. Those who have crooked smiles or protruded teeth often get teased for their appearance, which affects their confidence and self-esteem. It also has a health consequence; these children are more prone to fracturing their front teeth if they get injured while playing. So, their original teeth need to be replaced with artificial ones for the rest of their lives. And no child should have to experience that.”

There is also a societal aspect to it. Dr. Mehta continues, “A lot of patients come to me citing their ‘unappealing’ smile as a reason for not getting good suitors or marriage prospects. They ask me to correct their smiles as a solution. Some even come back years later to tell me how they are now successfully settled down with a family of their own!”

The Science of Smiling

Ever wonder what really happens in our brain when we smile? It is a neurological response that affects the muscles in our face. When you experience a positive feeling, like seeing a puppy or eating a pizza, signals are transmitted from your cortex to your brainstem, to the cranial muscles, to the facial muscles used for smiling. When the facial muscles contract in a smile, the positive feedback is sent to the brain.

Through all that, we experience a rush of endorphins and other chemicals that induce happiness and positivity, much like what happens after an intense and satisfying workout. Only stronger.

The Effects of Smiling

Did you know that a study conducted by British scientists concluded that a smile stimulated the brain at a level equivalent to eating 2,000 candy bars or receiving 16,000 Pound Sterling in cash!

Let’s take a look at the effects smiling has on your psyche, your body, and on those around you.

It Boosts Your Confidence

A smile makes you more attractive. People are drawn towards those who smile a lot. This gives your confidence and self-esteem a boost. It is similar to changing some aspect of your appearance to feel more confident.

It Lowers Your Heart Rate

Smiling is known to lower your stress levels and heart rate. It helps reduce the risk of long-term heart diseases. Smiling also temporarily brings down blood pressure, preventing overworking of your heart and allowing it to function at a steady rate.

It Puts You in a Better Mood

Smiling releases endorphins, which puts you in a better state of mind. It elevates your mood, takes away the stress, and takes you to a ‘happy space’ physically and mentally. This reduces physical pain as well!

It Boosts Productivity

Multitasking can lead to stress, which makes it near impossible to focus on more than one task at a time. Smiling boosts your productivity and helps you do more. Take a break and read an article, listen to songs, or look at funny cat memes.

In Conclusion

A smile has a lot of benefits to a person, and those around them too. As Dr. Mehta states, the importance of smile correction is underrated in our country. Fixing teeth has its set of physical and psychological advantages. A beaming and confident smile is a source of many good things in a person’s life.

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