For some people, smiling is a near constant thing they do. For others, it takes some work to get them to smile. But at some point, everyone smiles. The question is, why do we smile? We all know that smiling conveys joy, happiness, and all-around positive emotions.
But of all the ways we can express those feelings, why do we automatically raise the sides of our mouth into a smile?
We are taught how to walk, how to speak, how to write, and so many other things. But no one needs to teach a baby to smile. Even before a baby is born, they can make what’s known as a “reflex smile”. This is a tiny smirk that can occur randomly. By the time they reach 6 weeks, they’ll start showing full open–mouth smiles. Are they just mimicking their own parents’ smiles at this point?
It might not be so simple.
The Meaning of Smiles
The truth is, we don’t fully known why we smile when we’re happy and frown when we are sad. Smiles are rather unique to humans. When an animal shows its teeth, it’s typically to display dominance or aggression. In the case of a dog panting, it might look like a smile, but it’s really just the dog trying to breath and cool down.
When primates appear to “smile”, they are actually showing a sign of submission, not happiness.
Even amongst humans, smiles can mean different things depending on the situation and body language. However, there’s something called a Duchenne Smile. This is considered to be a true, genuine smile that is rarely caused by anything except positivity and joy.
When a person gives a Duchenne Smile, it’s not just their mouth that reacts, but their whole face. Mysteriously, this expression transcends cultures across the globe.
Reacting to Happiness
Scientists have used neuroimaging to show how the brain reacts to different emotions. While they can use the images to tell if a person is happy or sad, they are unable to connect these reactions to a person smiling or frowning.
Some theorize that it may be an evolutionary trait passed on by early human tribes as a way of greeting each other and gaining benefit from those around them. This idea is far from conclusive, however, as there are facts that directly contradict it.
Still, even if we don’t know why we smile, we do know that smiling is a powerful thing.
Why You Should Smile More
As we talked about in a previous post, smiling has been proven to positively affect your life and the attitudes of those around you. Even a fake smile can cause your brain to release endorphins, which in turn make you feel happier. Meanwhile, smiling causes those around you to smile more. Joy can truly be a contagious thing.
So, it’s in everyone’s best interest for you to smile.
If you’re hesitant to smile due to the alignment of your teeth, it might be time to visit an orthodontist. Orthodontic treatment is an effective, affordable way to achieve a happier, healthier smile. Not only do braces and Invisalign put your teeth in proper alignment, but they can help with enamel wear, teeth grinding, bad breath, jaw pain, and more.
After you’re done with your orthodontic treatment, you’ll have plenty of reasons to smile more.
For an orthodontist in Beavercreek, Bellefontaine, or Springfield, Ohio, contact Dhingra Orthodontics.