Some people say that modern American culture revolves around appearances. This may be true, since on any given day men and women spend countless amounts of money on cosmetic dentistry or products and examine their reflections in the mirror for hours to ensure that their clothing choices are flattering and their hair is polished.
However, some individuals may forget to double-check an important part of their appearance before they head out on the town—their smile.
The importance of a smile may be underestimated. According to a recent “Healthy Mouth” survey conducted by the makers of Listerine® Antiseptic and Reach brand, poor oral health caused 37 percent of respondents to abstain from eating their favorite foods, while 33 percent avoided smiling in photographs, 19 percent lost sleep, 15 percent refrained from kissing loved ones and 10 percent missed work due to dental problems like tooth pain, cavities or gingivitis.
The poll’s findings indicated that people with poor oral health may be discriminated against, since more than 40 percent of survey takers said they judge individuals with this type of problem as being “untidy.”
While a smile may seem unimportant in daily life, the survey results showed that good dental hygiene can be an important asset in one’s personal and professional life. A total of 70 percent of respondents said that a healthy smile signifies that a person is confident and 56 percent indicated that it exudes approachability. Moreover, 87 percent of participants said they believe that an attractive smile can positively affect social connections and mood.
In addition, another study indicates there is an association between people who smile frequently and good health. A recent article published by Livestrong.com cited research conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF), which showed that the act of smiling can significantly improve mood.
“We have long been drawing attention to the fact that smiling increases happiness both in yourself and those around you, so it is good to receive the backing of this scientific research. A healthy smile can improve your confidence, help you make friends and help you to succeed in your career,” said British Dental Health Foundation CEO Nigel Carter, quoted by the news provider.
The news source explained that smiling may improve an individual’s general health by reducing stress and anxiety. Creating this facial expression slows down breathing, which may interrupt feelings of nervous tension. Reducing chronic stress may help lower blood pressure, regulate digestion and blood sugar, and curb mental health problems, the organization said.
In order to preserve a healthy smile, the American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth two times daily and flossing regularly.
Your smile can also help others. In celebration of National Smile Month during June, DentalPlans.com is featuring a “Share a Smile, Save a Smile” photo contest onFacebook and giving you a chance to tweet what makes you smile on Twitter to benefit Operation Smile in its efforts to provide free reconstructive surgery for children born with clefts by mobilizing volunteer medical professionals from 76 countries.