You Heard It From Your Dentist: How A Healthy Mouth Can Boost Your Mental Health

We all know the hallmarks of a winning smile: a full set of white, even and unbroken teeth with no signs of decay, anchored in healthy, non-receding gums. A great grin is unselfconscious and genuine, bolstered by the knowledge that you’re looking your best.

It’s a no-brainer that a healthy mouth makes you look better. Did you know, however, that it can boost your mental health?

Disliking Your Smile Can Be a Social Impediment

People who dislike the state of their teeth tend to smile less, a habit that negatively impacts their well-being.

It’s hard to relax into interactions if you’re ashamed of your mouth. You may avoid smiling, dread meeting new people, avoid close conversations and turn down social invitations. The smile-averse may also shudder at those inevitable calls for an impromptu group photo.

This avoidant behavior is the very definition of social anxiety disorder. According to the Social Anxiety Association, “Social anxiety is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. You could say social anxiety is the fear and anxiety of being negatively judged and evaluated by other people.”

Smile and the World Smiles With You

We’ve discussed the personal discomfort that can arise with an unhealthy mouth. The fact is, however, that this discomfort may be catching.

A 2013 University of Wyoming study underscores the importance of a smile. A group of nearly 100 female college students were asked to study photographs of another woman, rating her likeability factor. Each participant looked at a single picture of the woman in one of four poses: smiling with an open body position, not smiling in a receptive body position, smiling in a closed body position or unsmiling an a closed body position. The woman was consistently rated as more likeable when she was seen smiling, regardless of her demeanor.

A smile is attractive because it’s a sign of friendliness as well as happiness. By failing to flash this universal sign of camaraderie, you may ward off friendships and romantic overtures. You may also your hamper career success, as jobs and promotions go to happier-looking candidates.

Break The Cycle With The Help of Riverside Dental

It’s a vicious cycle. The person with unhealthy teeth keeps a “poker face” because they suspect people won’t accept them as they are. Then their standoffish demeanor keeps them from gaining the support system they need, confirming their fears.

It’s said self-confidence comes from the inside-out. With this in mind, it’s important to break the mental patterns impeding self-esteem, whether through counseling, self-help books or wellness practices.

However, if your unhappiness is firmly centered in a dental issue—a missing or dead tooth, ugly metal caps and fillings, or a glut of untreated cavities—you should also go straight to the source.

A skilled dentist like those at Riverside Dental Care in St. George, Utah can work with you to address the issues you’ve had with your teeth. Having your smile repaired can be truly liberating, but it may take some practice for you to start showcasing your dazzling smile.

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