World Smile Day: The Proven Mental and Physical Health Benefits of a Beautiful Smile

World Smile Day is the first Friday in October

“Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile!” That’s the motto of World Smile Day, which is Friday October 4th this year. The goal is to spread happiness and make people smile. As orthodontists, we’re all for it. After all, smiling doesn’t just make people feel good, it’s associated with a large list of benefits. Here are just some. 

A Beautiful Smile Is a Healthy Smile 

A straight, white, attractive smile is a sign of healthy teeth and gums. Teeth that are cracked and chipped, discolored, and/or crooked can indicate things like build-up, decay, underlying problems with the jaw, and bruxism (grinding). Swollen, puffy, or red gums indicate gum disease from bacterial build-up, which is decidedly not healthy. Any one of these issues can lead to bigger problems down the road, including pain, tooth loss, gum recession, TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), and more. 

Good health is a great reason to take care of your smile! Brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly is the best way to keep your smile beautiful and maintain good oral health. 

A Beautiful Smile Boost Self-Confidence (and Dating Prospects)

Research has shown what we all know from experience to be true: your smile affects your self-esteem. A less-than-attractive one can negatively impact self image. A crooked, gappy, or discolored smile can lead to feelings of embarrassment, shame, stress, and anxiety. It can make interactions with other people uncomfortable, in both a professional and a personal setting. 

Conversely, a beautiful smile allows you to smile proudly at anyone you meet, without the need to stifle a smile or cover your mouth. Here is just one study that found dental work that improved a patient’s appearance led to increased self-esteem. Other research shows how important an attractive smile is to people looking for a romantic partner, with two in five people saying they would be less likely to go on a second date with someone who had crooked teeth.  

A Beautiful Smile Improves Mood 

Confidence affects how you present yourself to the world. Mood affects how you feel. It turns out a great smile is great for improving mood, too. When you smile, your brain releases endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, which make you feel good and even act like mild painkillers. 

Even faking a smile makes you feel better, thanks to feedback mechanisms between the face and the brain. So next time you need a little pick-me-up, simply smile! 

A Beautiful Smile Helps with Job Prospects   

A Forbes article cites a statistic from the ADA that approximately a third of young people and a third of low income adults feel the appearance of their mouth and teeth affects their ability to interview for a job. From an employer’s point of view, they may be less likely to hire someone with a less-attractive smile, especially if it’s for a customer-facing or sales position. 

For these reasons, having an attractive smile to be proud of can help your career prospects. 

Celebrate World Smile Day October 4th 

Now that you know the power of a smile, do your part this year for World Smile Day and spread some joy! Here are some ideas for where to start.