THE OLD LINE “it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown” isn’t actually true. It takes at least ten muscles to smile but as few as six to frown, so maybe the saying should be something like “you burn more calories when you smile than when you frown!” instead. However, getting a better workout isn’t the only benefit we get from smiling!

The Feedback Loop Between Smiling and Happiness

Obviously, we smile when we’re happy, but evidence shows that the very act of smiling might make us feel happier. Smiling is so closely linked to the feeling of happiness in our brains that even a fake smile can release endorphins — the feel-good hormone — and make us feel better. The next time you’re having a rough day, try flashing a smile and see if that helps a little!

We Reduce Pain and Stress by Smiling

Those endorphins we get from smiling can do a lot of helpful things besides just contributing to a better mood. Short-term, endorphins help to reduce pain and relieve stress because they function in a similar way to painkillers (except without the side effects).

A 2012 experiment tested how long it took subjects’ heart rates to return to normal after completing a stressful task, and the smiling subjects recovered faster. The way the experiment worked was that the non-smiling group had to hold a pencil between their lips while they did the task (forcing a more pout-like expression), while the smiling group had to hold the pencil between their teeth (forcing more of a smile).

The Long-Term Benefits of Smiling: A Better Immune System!

Those short-term endorphin effects are great, but it doesn’t even stop there! Over time, when we make a habit of smiling more, the effects compound into long-term health benefits like making us more resilient against illnesses and reducing our risk of getting cancer. The reason for this is that the better we manage our stress, the fewer stress-induced mutations our cells go through over the years.

Smile More, Live Longer

People typically perceive a smiling face as being more attractive and younger than a non-smiling face, and that’s not just about appearances. Over the course of a lifetime of smiling, we might accrue enough health benefits to actually live longer. One way to make it easier to smile more is to be proud of the way our smiles look because we have healthy teeth and gums. For that, we need great dental health habits and regular professional dental care.

Bring Your Beautiful Smile to the Dentist!

Don’t fight the battle for your smile’s health on your own; the dentist can help. Schedule regular cleaning appointments to get that professional deep clean and catch any problems while they are still small, and bring any questions you have about dental health with you!

Nothing makes us smile quite like our patients! Reach out to schedule your dental appointment with Lane & Associates Family Dentistry today or call us at 877-LANE-DDS!

Happy Heart Month! February is known not only as the month of Love (namely, Valentine’s Day) but also as American Heart Month. Since our bodies are ecosystems, where a change in one area affects other areas. This connection is becoming clearer as scientists continue examining the links between oral health and cardiovascular health. Recent studies suggest that taking care of your gums through great oral hygiene could cut your risk of a heart attack or stroke!

Important Links Between Gum Health And Heart Health

Inflammation caused by gum disease could contribute to an increased risk for heart problems. The mouth is the gateway to the body, and gums that are infected or bleeding provide easy access for bacteria to get into the bloodstream. Once inside, certain types of bacteria cause low-level inflammation of blood vessels without causing a full-blown blood infection. Because of this, treatment is very difficult once the bacteria have become established. The constant low-level inflammation can induce atherosclerosis–the hardening of arterial walls–and lead to blockages.

Mom Was Right—An Ounce of Prevention…

Beyond diet and exercise, it’s hard to know what to do to prevent heart disease. However, gum disease and tooth decay are completely preventable!

  • Brush twice daily for two minutes, gently massaging the gums.
  • Floss once daily.
  • Brush or rinse with water after eating or drinking.
  • Don’t miss your regular cleanings and check-ups with us.

As such studies continue, it’s likely more evidence will be found linking gum disease and heart disease. In the meantime, there are already enough reasons to take charge of your oral health! Establishing good dental hygiene habits now and sticking to them will help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and a host of other problems.

Stay Healthy For The People You Love

One way that the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is suggesting is thinking of your heart health as a version of self-care. Here are their 7 days of self-care for your heart health:

We’re proud to assist you in your pursuit of comprehensive, lasting health. We look forward to seeing you during your next dental visit. Contact us or schedule an appointment today!

It’s National Get Organized Month, and one way we love to organize is by planning out our health goals for the year. Are you creating vision boards and looking for healthy habits to start in 2021? We’ve got a list of 7 Healthy Habits to Start in 2021, read more below!

1. Brushing 2x per day for 2 minutes.

Of course, as dental professionals you know we had to start with the obvious. Our first healthy habit to start in 2021 is Brushing twice daily for 2 minutes and flossing at least once per day (if not more!). This sounds repetitive but we’re serious, brushing for two minutes is longer than you think! Our suggestion, find your favorite 2-minute long song and play it while you brush. This will help you to keep on track and to realize just how long 2 minutes of brushing really is! 

2. Getting Active for at least 30 minutes Daily.

We don’t mean doing sprints and hurdles for 30 minutes (unless you’re into that sort of thing) but simply taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood or even during your lunch break. It’s amazing what a small habit change like this can do to your overall health.

girl drinking water

3. Choosing Water First.

And we mean it too! Before you go for that cup of morning joe, grab some water first. This will help start your engines and create a less acidic environment for your gut. Water has so many benefits for your body: teeth, skin, hair, nails… this list could go on and on. So during 2021, think to yourself, “Choose water first” before diving into the same soda or sweet tea throughout the week. It will definitely be a habit to continue!

4. Getting the Sunshine Vitamin.

Sunlight, fresh air, and Vitamin D are a combination as old as time. They are so beneficial for your mental and physical health. According to Healthline, Vitamin D has three key benefits: improving resistance to certain diseases, fighting depression, and improving overall bone and teeth health. Whether you get your Vitamin D from walks outdoors or through supplements, this is a healthy habit to continue into 2021.

5. Putting down the Devices 30 Minutes Before Bed.

This is a healthy habit that many of us should be adopting ASAP. Studies show that your brain has a hard time winding down before bed if you have an electronic device in front of you (due to less production of melatonin). So turning off your devices 30 minutes before your ideal sleep time is a must. Our suggestion? Read a book that’s not too captivating or turn on some sleep sounds. Zzzzz

tracking steps outdoors

6. Giving Yourself Step Goals.

One of the best investments in your health in 2021 is tracking your steps via a fitness watch. Don’t have a fitness watch? You can also track your steps using your phone’s Health app. It may not track every step but it will at least track the steps you take with your phone. Giving yourself a step goal is one easy way to increase your movement throughout 2021. Start with a lower step goal and change out your daily goal once every month. If you use fitness watches, you can also join challenges within the app itself which are really fun if you have any sort of competitive spirit. 

7. Planning Out Your Meals Each Week.

This one is relatively self-explanatory but really goes a long way to stay consistent with any dietary or budgeting goals you’ve set for yourself or your family. Investing in a planner (whether that be digital or physical) and listing out meal options for the week + a grocery shopping list will create a balanced week. Plus, you won’t have to do the “What do you want to eat? No, what do YOU want to eat?” battle. Win-win! 

 

We hope these 7 Healthy Habits to Start in 2021 give you plenty of ideas for your own health journey & can lead you towards a healthier future. If you’re searching for more ways to improve your dental health, read our blog about Calcium & all of its amazing benefits or schedule an appointment with us today! At Lane & Associates Family Dentistry, we love to make you smile!