From the moment we are born, we are immediately attuned to the human smile. As babies, we instinctively recognise and mimic the smiles of our parents and siblings and adopt it as one of our first facial expressions. The human smile is in fact so important to our understanding of the expressions of others, that scientists, psychologists and behavioural analysts have studied it in a huge number of ways, since French anatomist, Guillaume Duchenne, first coined the term ‘Duchenne smile’ to refer to a truly genuine, impulsive smile. The smile is – in fact – thought to be as old as humans themselves. The origins of a toothy grin are thought to predate man and were used by primates as a gesture of ‘harmlessness’ towards other primates, thereby signifying social friendship. A natural smile is so ingrained into our behaviour, that it could possibly be considered one of our most important traits!
Your smile is integral to almost every social interaction you’ve had and will ever have. It helped you let that first crush know you were interested. It helped you get out of trouble when you were a child. It helped (or will help) you win your first job, express joy at your wedding, show your children you were pleased when they took that first step and signified your emotion at remembering the good times when somebody you loved passed away.
Unless you’re not human, you’ve likely noticed the effect of your smile upon other people and theirs upon you. You can be strolling down the street, completely self-absorbed in thought, when somebody smiles a genuine smile at you. You know what happens… you instantly smile back – almost uncontrollably – and you likely don’t stop smiling for at least five minutes. The expression coined by Louis Armstrong couldn’t be more correct – “when you’re smilin’, the whole world smiles with you”!
A Healthy Smile Is Your Crystal Ball
Interestingly, your beautiful smile can also predict your future success! A 30-year longitudinal study performed at UC Berkeley found that the examination of smiles in yearbook pictures could predict the future outcomes of participants, with those displaying genuine Duchenne smiles achieving more success in their jobs, marriages and general lives. Even more amazing was a separate WSU study that was able to predict the mortality outcomes of baseball players, based on the width of their grins. Yes, you guessed it – the wider the grin, the longer the player had lived!
So, it should be fairly clear by now that your smile is a pretty important asset to you and those around you. It would be a terrible pity to not be flashing those pearly whites as often as humanly possible, but sometimes, we just aren’t completely comfortable with the way our own smiles look or feel. Thankfully, our smiling simian ancestors evolved into civilisations, and those civilisations were clever enough to invent dentistry. With modern advances in the way we treat, maintain and repair our teeth – combined with a contemporary understanding of the benefits of holistic oral health – there is no reason we can’t all enjoy our smiles to their fullest. If you’re not, you could be, and the first step is a consultation with a quality dental practice.
Whether you’d like to treat tooth pain, a crooked bite, yellowing of the teeth or a missing tooth, a good dentist will work with you to obtain the results you’re after. With state-of-the-art equipment and technology in a comfortable and welcoming setting, Shore Dental can offer you a number of general, emergency and cosmetic dentistry treatment options, including fillings, tooth replacement, crowns and veneers, teeth whitening, Invisalign and other orthodontics plus much more. So, if you’d like to be smiling broadly again, contact us and we will advise you on your many options.