Donning a dazzling white smile doesn’t just show the world how healthy your teeth and gums are, your dental health also plays a significant role in how confident you feel.
Have you ever had yellowing teeth or maybe a discolored tooth or two?
If so, you were probably pretty self-conscious about it. And if you’re self conscious about your smile then you’re not going to feel so great about your appearance when interacting with others.
With this smile self-esteem question in mind, we’d like to expand on this article from SheKnows.com to hear psychologist Ann Demarais, Ph.D., and dental hygienist Kristy Menage Bernie give the scoop on why having a great smile matters – and how to get your pearly whites looking their brightest.
It has been said that simply by smiling we can instantly improve our mood, but research also shows that the better you feel about your looks, the better you feel about yourself, explains Demarais.
“When your teeth look white and sparkly, you can relax, be in the moment and laugh. You are more confident and radiant,” she says, adding that the mere act of putting your mouth in the shape of a smile changes the blood flow to the brain and actually makes you feel happier.
The fact that smiling itself boosts your mood has a further positive impact because smiling has a contagious effect.
“When you smile, others are more likely to smile back, and are more drawn to you, thereby increasing your confidence and happiness even more.”
To Smile Or Not To Smile
Unlike smiling, frowns do not appear to be directly socially contagious; seeing someone frown does not necessarily make you frown.
But smiling has been proven as being communicable and contagious, and just the simple free act of smiling can have a significant impact how others perceive you.
Having a radiant smile sends a huge positive message to those around you, Demarais explains.
It communicates to people you are happy to be in their presence, and it creates an optimistic feeling in others.
When you smile, people are more likely to assume you have positive qualities — they perceive you as more sociable, trustworthy and intelligent, compared to when you aren’t smiling.
So whether you’re at a party, in a job interview or simply walking down the street, the fact that you’re smiling will work to your advantage.
Listen to the good doctor…when in doubt, SMILE!
Does Your Smile Need A Shape Up?
Just by human nature, if we’re generally unhappy with something we probably don’t do it very often.
The same notion can be applied to the motion at the corners of your mouth. If we’re not too thrilled with how our smile looks in the mirror, chances are we won’t be showing it off to everyone at the party, walking down the street, in a job interview, or trying to land that big deal at work.
And if we’re not happy with our smiles, then we probably won’t be smiling too often…thereby not experiencing the stress relieving, immune system improving, mood boosting benefits this most simple act of non-verbal human communication provides.
According to Dr. Demarais, people who avoid smiling usually do so because they are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth.
They may feel that their teeth aren’t as white as they’d like, or that their teeth have lost their youthful sheen, which can make them feel ashamed about the appearance of their smile.
When this happens people fall out of the habit of smiling or they do a closed-lip grin, which comes across as awkward or not genuine.
“Most people are not aware of how important a smile is in how others perceive them or in how they feel about themselves,” says Demarais.
Best Teeth Whitening Options
Here’s where the rubber hits the road with smile improvement, although we could opt for the natural route – trying to whiten our teeth with foods we eat – let’s defer to the professionals and let them discuss with us the best options for achieving our smile goals.
According to dental hygienist Kristy Menage Bernie in the SheKnows.com article, there are really only two options for optimal, long-lasting tooth whitening – and for now, both are only offered at your local dentist.
Basically the most effective teeth whitening options break down like this:
In-office teeth whitening with lights & lasers – like Zoom
Professional grade teeth whitening gels for use in custom-fitted trays – like mouthpieces
What’s important to realize, and what makes it so important to actually get some advice from a dentist is that teeth whitening is only most effective when external stains, plaque, and tartar have been thoroughly removed.
So, it’s best to actually show up for the next dental cleaning so both your dental hygienist and dentist can first determine the current state of your dental health before starting the teeth whitening conversation.
From there you as the patient can make an informed decision by deciding together, with your smile improvement team, the best course of action to get your smile in tip-top shape.
Dazzling Smiles Require Daily Diligence
According to the SheKnows.com article you can read for yourself here, studies have confirmed that we tend to spend 24 to 60 seconds on our oral hygiene and a mere 10 to 20 percent of us floss regularly and effectively.
“With those statistics, it is clear that power brushes will dramatically improve daily plaque removal,” she says.
Whether we choose manual or electric toothbrushes, we should all devote the suggested 2 minutes 2x per day to brushing our teeth, AND we should be flossing daily!
Of course avoiding the troublesome habits that will stain your teeth like tobacco use and consumption of coffee, colas, or other foods and liquids that cause staining is also important to not getting stained yellowing teeth in the first place.
Bernie also stresses the importance of routine visits to your dental hygienist to remove hard tartar or stains, which will ensure that you not only have a white smile but also a healthy smile.
Key Takeaways For A Healthy White Smile:
Smiling shows the world that we feel good about ourselves
A healthy smile is a dazzling smile
Ditch the whitening strips and talk to your hygienist & dentist at your next (regularly scheduled, routine) dental appointment.
+Chris Barnard is Managing Editor of DentalPatientNews.com, a patient-centric Social Dental Network blog dedicated to enabling the digital dental health conversation - and the eradication of the cavity creeps.
Chris Barnard is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.