In the height of summer, there are plenty of things to grin about. Add National Smile Week to the list and you have fresh reason to flash your pearly whites. National Smile Week takes place during the second week of August, seeking to promote dental health and the maintenance of a bright, healthy smile.
Beyond making you look more attractive, a smile – and what’s going on in the mouth behind it – plays a large role in the overall health of your body. While some believe “the eyes are the window to the soul,” the mouth is no doubt the gateway to the body.
Drop diabetes risks
Scientists point out that maintaining a healthy grin can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, among other problems. Few people realize that diabetes and oral health are inextricably linked, even though a recent study shows diabetes now affects at least 1 in 10 Americans. The connection all starts with sugar. Sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay and the standout side effect when the body fails to produce insulin properly. As a result of insulin resistance, blood glucose (sugar) cannot be kept at normal levels, which can reach the gums and teeth and leave them vulnerable to cavities, gum disease and more. But proper brushing habits can significantly lower this problem.
Releases feel-good chemicals
Smiling has also been known to release endorphins, serotonin and natural pain killers, according to a study conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation. While we know that joy is the source of smile, the smile can also be the source of joy. Our emotions are reinforced and even driven by their corresponding facial expressions, so even a simple grin during National Smile Week could lift your mood. Surely, smiling is a natural drug.
When we grin from ear-to-ear, it increases happiness both in yourself and those around you. Brain activity has been shown to reach the same level of stimulation when people smiled as eating multiple chocolate bars. (more…)