How Does Your Smile Make You Better?

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When a person smiles, all sorts of good things happen to them and those around them. In the realm of treating TMD patients, so many of these people have been hurting for so very long that it is often difficult just to get a slight grin out of them. These are the people that need the smile the most! The power of a smile and good attitude is oftentimes what can help a person with TMD pain to improve how they feel.

As we all know, a smile makes everyone feel better. But do you know why? There are several reasons. First of all, a smile relaxes the muscles of the face and calms the nervous system. There is a nerve called the vagus nerve and when you smile, the vagus nerve is activated, and the body relaxes more. Laughing actually sends more oxygen to the brain which helps the whole body feel better. As more oxygen circulates, it helps to flush the byproducts of the cells in the body and  effectively you are doing a cleanse.

During a smile, the neurons in your body release dopamine, endorphins and serotonin which are the neurotransmitters that reduce depression and aggression. These are the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters. Think of it like a runner’s high, you feel really good, really light and airy when on a good run and things are clear and bright. The best thing about smiling may be that it is free and easy to do.

Along with increasing the ‘feel good’ hormones being produced, there is a reduction in the stress-enhancing hormones. These hormones are cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol and adrenaline are great hormones when we are being chased by a sabretooth tiger that is intent on eating us, as our muscles go into a high-stress mode so we can basically run away faster. However, the lactic acid will build up and make those muscles very sore later on. This is why smiling helps, less of the stress hormones and more of the calming neurotransmitters.

Another reason for a big smile is that when you show those pearly whites, you are opening yourself up to others. You are telling other people that you are happy to see them and want to be around them. We are all creatures who crave companionship and when other people want to be around you, it makes you feel wanted and cared for. Just this feeling of companionship has its own healing power. When we open up to others, we stimulate endorphins to be produced, and this is certainly a great way to improve our health. And when the other person smiles back at you, they are now producing endorphins as well. So, make someone happy, smile at them, get their endorphins going and make it a better day for everybody!

Call Today

If you would like to learn more, please call our experienced team in Falls Church, Virginia to schedule a visit with Dr. Jeffrey, Brown. Call 703-821-1103 today.