A smile is more than just a friendly gesture. It can actually have some important psychological benefits, too. And as you encourage your children to confidently show off their smiles, you may be helping them go into adulthood with a more confident outlook on life.
That may seem like a lot for a simple smile to achieve, but even at a young age, a child can experience some real confidence boosters when they share a smile with others.
Toddlers, pre-teens, and teenagers all have different approaches and requirements to develop good oral hygiene habits, and if you help them focus on dental health through their younger years, they’re going to be ready to be ready to smile for every selfie, every picture, and every time they meet someone new.
Still sound like an after-school special? “Smile and everything will be alright”? Well, let’s take a look at some of the documented psychological and emotional effects of smiling and see what the science is telling us.
According to all the studies, a smile isn’t just about appearances. It can have a direct impact on so much more. For example, it could:
- Boost your mood – When you smile, it can reduce stress and ease a lot of the tension throughout your body.
- Boost other people’s moods – A smile is very literally contagious. When you smile, the people around you are moved to smile back. It’s a reflex.
- Build up coping mechanisms – People who smile a lot tend to be able to handle more stress in their lives.
- Leave a lasting impression – A smiling face tends to be more memorable than a neutral or frowning face.
It’s important to note that these benefits are not age specific. This is why encouraging your children to share their smiles is a great way to help them build confidence in themselves.
But let’s examine this phenomenon a little closer and see what’s really going on.
A Positive Cycle
Most of us think that a smile is simply a reaction to feeling good or being happy. We don’t always realize that we can also feel happy because we’re smiling.
It turns out that the movement of certain muscles in the fact – specifically, the ones used to turn your mouth into a smile – tell your brain that it’s time to start feeling good. So your brain, in turn, releases some neuropeptides (hormones that help deal with stress) and endorphins. Your smile can literally help you feel better.
A lot of people feel like they have to hide their smiles. They may feel too self-conscious about discolored or crooked teeth, so they keep their smiles hidden behind a sterner expression.
This is why a dental hygiene routine is so important in their early years. Children can avoid gum disease or serious halitosis in the future if they’re committed to their oral health. This can also help them keep their teeth shiny and bright.
When You Smile, People Tend to Smile Back
Children can be very sensitive to the way people react to them. Smiling is important because when they smile, it’s actually a natural thing for others to smile back. In fancier terms, it’s called “body language mirroring.” And it basically means that a smile is really infections.
This kind of positive vibe will then give kids a reason to keep smiling.
Even a Fake Smile Has Value
We’ve seen some studies suggest that it really is possible to change your emotional state by changing your expression. We mentioned how those muscle movements signal your brain that it’s time to feel good, so even if you don’t have a real reason to smile, do it anyway. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a real or a fake smile, and you can use that loophole to your advantage.
Always Be Ready to Smile
Hopefully, this has shown that there is a lot of power in a simple smile. We want you and your kids to feel like they can share their smiles with anyone at any time. That means a good dental health routine at home and regular checkups each year. We don’t want anyone to feel like they have to hide their smile when they can do so much with it.