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Wellness Tip: National Smile Day

Smiling is our body’s way of signaling enjoyment, relaxation, and happiness. May 31st is recognized as National Smile Day, so for this year’s celebration, let’s learn how smiling encourages a healthier and happier lifestyle! Because as Annie says in the beloved 1982 Hollywood film, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.”

This holiday was created in 2018 by Dr. Tim Stirneman and Jim Wojdyla at Compassionate Dental Care. On this date, five years ago, they hosted an event called Dentistry From the Heart, where free dental services were provided for anyone without insurance or needing support. Since that first celebration, National Smile Day has been a reminder of all of the benefits that smiling adds to our lives.

Photo Courtesy Simi Iluyomade

It has been noted that children smile and laugh an average of 400 times per day while adults only reach 20 times per day. If you need one reason to smile today, the Dental Associates of Florida report that “smiling is more effective in stimulating the reward mechanism of the brain than chocolate is.” In other words, smiling encourages our brains to be more positive and makes us feel happy.

Photo Courtesy Lawrence Crayton

Smiling stimulates our reward systems and makes us seem more open, engaging, sincere, and approachable to others. The act of smiling also helps us naturally relax by reducing stress-induced hormones. Smiling has been shown to release the same amount of happiness as exercising by releasing endorphins!

Because of all of the benefits that this small act can bring to our lives, it’s important that we do what we can to maintain the natural beauty of our smiles. Smilepoint Dental reported that “People who have healthy teeth feel confident about themselves and smile without any worry. A beautiful smile is not only directly related to your self-esteem, but it can also increase the level of happiness in your life.” This was proved to be true in a 2018 study demonstrating how good oral health was deemed more important in raising confidence levels than clear skin.

Photo Courtesy Jamie Brown

So, to make sure our smiles stay bright and beautiful, here are a few tips on how to boost your oral hygiene:

  1. Schedule regular checkups at the dentist. You should visit the dentist at least once yearly, but biannual checkups are strongly suggested.
  2. Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and include flossing into your routine. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that fluoride helps strengthen your enamel and prevents tooth decay. It’s important to maintain our enamel because it protects us from severe damage and infections.
Photo Courtesy Thought Catalog
  1. Stay away from tobacco products. The CDC says that tobacco products cause oral cancer, gum disease, and other oral health problems; over 40% of adults from 20-64 who smoke cigarettes have untreated tooth decay.
  2. Eat food with high sugar content in moderation. The CDC reports that 3/5 Americans older than two years old consume more than the recommended 10% of calories added from sugar every day. When we consume sugar, it interacts with the bacteria within the place to produce acid that is responsible for tooth decay. The acid slowly dissolves your enamel, which creates holes and cavities.
Photo Courtesy Joel Mott

Smiling is a simple act to connect with those around us and boost our self-esteem. We are all born with such beautiful smiles that we want to ensure that as the years go by, we maintain our oral health to feel confident! So, what’s one thing that makes you smile today?

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