Smiles are interesting and surprisingly complex. Did you know that children, on average, smile 400 times a day while adults typically only smile 20 times a day?
When we smile we use the zygomaticus major muscle to control the corners of the mouth and the orbicularis occuli muscle around our eyes. Scientists have done studies that show when we only use the muscles around our mouth and not the ones around our eyes, it’s considered a social smile that lacks sincerity, aka a ‘fake’ smile. A scientific understanding of the facial muscles isn’t needed to distinguish between smiles, either. Research shows that our brains analyze the smiles we see in our day to day lives and we often subconsciously mirror those smiles back, returning them with warmth or fakeness depending on how we interpret them.
If you find yourself fake smiling more than you mean to, or you just want to work on exuding the warmth and trustworthiness often associated with smiles that reach the eyes, here are three ways to work on your smile:
- Practice in front of the mirror
If you’ve watched even a preview for Tyra Banks’ show America’s Next Top Model you have probably heard her telling contestants to practice smiling with their eyes for at least an hour a day in front of the mirror. Practice your polite smile and then think of the last funny cat video you saw on youtube and watch the difference in your eyes this time. If you can feel the muscle change that occurs around your eyes, you can learn to strengthen it and use it more often.
Happy thoughts aren’t just for children desperately trying to follow Peter Pan to Neverland. Positive thinking has been shown actually to reduce stress and improve happiness in countless psychology studies. There’s a reason the cliché saying ‘Fake it till’ you make it’ has withstood the test of time.
- Be confident in your smile
A smile is more than just lips pursed together and curved upward. Showing teeth when smiling exudes confidence and research have actually shown that an attractive smile can earn someone up to 12.7% more money a year. Sometimes stained or crooked teeth, among other dental problems can leave us feeling bad about our smile and prone to hide it.
Dr. Pappas takes smiles very seriously. All dentistry should be focused on the health and cosmetics of your smile. If you’re unhappy with yours, call the office today at (602) 957-9643 to talk about the many cosmetic dentistry options we offer or schedule an appointment. With everything from teeth whitening to a full smile makeover and everything in between, here at Arcadia Dental Arts, we have something for everyone.