Journals in Neuropsychology have published studies have shown that seeing a smiling face activates the orbitofrontal cortex of the brain. This is the part of the brain that processes sensory rewards; so, when you see someone smiling, you feel rewarded. For the wearer of the smile, smiling releases dopamine, serotonin and endorphins — our feel-good neurotransmitters. When these neuropeptides are elevated, we feel less stress, our body relaxes. This lowers our levels of depression and stress which have a wide span of deleterious effects on our lives., and our mood lifts. Every time two people smile at each other, they are creating a symbiotic relationship that allows both to release feel-good brain chemicals and activate the brain’s reward centers, make you appear more attractive and feel more confident.
As dentists, we witness the power behind a smile daily. If there is something you don't like about your smile, the options to improve it are almost endless and it's never too late to get that confident smile ready to come out from behind that mask! The simple act of smiling can transform our appearance and the world around us. These days, when we are all covering our faces with masks for almost all social interactions — not just when performing dental procedures —it’s no wonder many of us are feeling down. Not being able to show or share a smile because we are all hiding behind mask just makes it harder to connect with each other during a time when we especially need to feel connected. But we can still reap the benefits of being the one to smile from behind our masks, and we can also big enough for it to show in our eyes and around our masks — that way, the people around us can still see and feel the benefits of our smile. See if you can make that contagious!
Let's make smiling the new pandemic because the world is a better place when people are smiling, so let’s do our part to brighten these dark times.