The Power of a Smile

As an orthodontic practice, we are devoted to smiles...making them beautiful, functional and healthy. The more confident a person is with their teeth and smile, the more likely they are to use it and discover the power it holds.

Our next few blogs will be focusing on the world's most powerful gesture...YOUR SMILE. The science of smiling is fascinating! When we experience a positive situation, a neuronal signals travel from the cortex of your brain to the brain stem. From there, the cranial muscle carries the signal further towards the smiling muscles in your face. Once the smiling muscles in the face contract, there is a positive feedback loop that goes back to the brain and reinforces our feeling of joy. In short: our brain feels good and tells us to smile, we smile and tell our brain it feels good and so forth.

Whenever we smile, there are 2 potential muscles we activate. The first one is the zygomaticus major and it controls the corners of your mouth. However, if only this muscle is activated, it's not actually a "genuine" smile...scientists call this a "social" smile. The second muscle known to show sincerity is the obicularis occuli and it encircles our eye socket. The combination produces a "true" smile also called a Duchenne smile, named after the famous scientist who first identified the "mouth corners" only smile from the "eye socket" one.

So, that's the mechanics behind YOUR SMILE! Our next blog will start to reveal how smiling can boost your mood and even your immune system! In the meantime...

Dr. Tarak Shah