Atlanta Dentist Discusses the Health Implications of Smiling
A smile a day can keep the doctor away? Perhaps, says current research from fields as diverse as dermatology and psychology. While smiling certainly serves as an outward expression of our inner feelings, many scientists and researchers believe that smiling can have a number of significant effects on our overall health as well. An expert on diagnosing, treating, and correcting smile problems, Atlanta dentist and prosthodontist, Dr. David Zelby, presents some of this leading-edge research and discusses how something as simple as a smile can help you live a longer, happier life.
New Research on Smiling’s Impact on Emotional Health
In his new book, an ode to and lengthy examination of Botox called Face of Emotion: How Botox Affects Our Moods and Relationships, dermatologist Dr. Eric Finzi makes the case that smiling (and frowning) can do more than simply express our emotions. Dr. Finzi cites several studies that point to the idea that facial expressions are dynamically linked to the depth with which we experience certain feelings. In other words, frowning does not simply express a bad mood. It expresses that mood and can intensify and prolong those bad feelings. With regards to Botox, the cosmetic treatment at the heart of Finzi’s research, since the drug inhibits a patient’s ability to frown, it likewise diminishes the intensity of the associated negative emotion. This research lends scientific gravitas to the long-held idea that smiling can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The Intriguing Link Between Smiling and Stress
Scientists from the University of Kansas published an article in a 2012 edition of Psychological Science asserting that smiling can decrease stress levels and have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. To test their initial hypothesis, the scientists had study participants perform a series of stressful tasks while having a neutral facial expression, forcing a smile, or wearing a genuine (or Duchenne) smile. This research indicated that both forced smiles and genuine smiles helped participants recover from the stress more quickly and with a significantly lower heart rate. Basically, smiling lowered stress levels. Since stress is linked to a wide range of general health problems from high blood pressure to lowered immune function, understanding that smiling can help control stress levels expands the way we view and treat stress.
A Healthy, Confident Smile is Key
Healthy teeth and gums look good. Therefore, a person with a good-looking smile is more likely to show off that grin and enjoy all the health benefits of smiling. However, from the perspective of a person with “bad teeth,” being told to “grin and bear it” can feel facile and insensitive. Severe enamel stains, chipped teeth, crooked or misshaped teeth, missing teeth, and even chronic bad breath can significantly inhibit a person’s desire to smile, no matter how much better it could make them feel. This is where a skilled cosmetic and restorative dentist like Dr. Zelby steps in. Common dental knowledge holds that a beautiful looking smile is, more than likely, a healthy smile. Any dental treatment aimed at improving a patient’s oral health will also improve, in some way, the general aesthetics of the smile. In a similar fashion, ethical and natural-looking cosmetic and restorative dentistry can improve the overall health and functionality of a patient’s smile.
Enjoy Your Best Smile in Atlanta!
If you would like to see how cosmetic dentistry can help you achieve a beautiful smile and, perhaps, give you the key to overall well-being, call Dr. David Zelby at (770) 955-0550. Dr. Zelby and the expert team at Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta can return your smile to optimal health, function, and beauty. Our Atlanta dentist office proudly serves patients in Marietta, Smyrna, East Cobb, Buckhead, Vinings, and Metro Atlanta.