How we express and present ourselves says every thing about us. When we look at people, we typically and subconsciously evaluate how that person looks and feels. We look at their hair, their clothes, their body language and make opinions of how that person looks and ultimately feels about life. Our moods are very dependant on how we hold or position our bodies. Your smile is a position that has a big impact on your mood. A depressed person hangs their head, and appears emotionless, unhappy and does not smile. A happy person stands tall and shows many variations of their pleasant attitude and is typically showing a bright smile. So what do teeth have to do with these characteristics? It’s been said that one smiling person can change the entire attitude of a room full of people. Smiles are contagious and it’s hard not to smile when other people are doing it. But what if your smile is not what you would like it to be? When I discuss smiles with patients I hear often they cover their teeth with their lips for photos and try to smile in a way that doesn’t show their teeth. Hearing this saddens me because I know the health benefits of smiling and laughter. If you can’t naturally and emotionally smile when you need to, you are avoiding the expression of that good feeling. Holding back that good feeling contributes to a depressed or stressed mood and affects the body chemically in ways that can lead to unhealthy conditions like heart disease and stroke. One study I read recently from a UAB health systems article “Happiness Protects your Heart” says “Fibrinogen is a substance that is directly related to risk of coronary heart disease, and happier individuals have lower fibrinogen responses to stress tests which indicates that this could be a health mediating mechanism.” I personally know smiling makes you healthier and feel better about life, I hear it so often from patients I have treated in ways to enhance their smiles. Whitening of teeth, correction of chipped or broken teeth, removal of silver mercury fillings (a whole other health concern here as well) and extreme make-over procedures with veneers always, in my experience, always makes a happier patient. Not only will smiling more make you a healthier person, it will also put you in a better mood, better frame of mind to be more productive at work and possibly more successful in any business situation. Many reports I have read show that a first impression is often one of the major determinants to employment opportunities, successful business deals and good long-term work relationships. How good of a first impression does a person make who doesn’t smile? Not a great one! I suggest if you are unsatisfied with your smile to visit your dentist and discuss options that can improve it. You might be surprised at how easy and affordable it could be to get the desired smile you really want. Not to mention the added benefit of a happier, healthier you.