How to increase happiness in your life AND how to increase your self-confidence is something many of us strive for, yet struggle to accomplish. And on top of that, it’s hard to find someone in this day and age who isn’t looking to find a way to quickly decrease stress levels!
In this TEDTalk video, Steven Lin outlines how a simple smile can decrease your blood pressure, boost your immune system, and increase your endorphin levels. Here, we’ve dissected the video for you.
Lin outlines how your oral health directly impacts your smile. As a dentist, he details how the fear of dentist visits causes many people to avoid much-needed treatments. In one anecdote. He even describes a patient who was suffering from severe pain in her upper molar. When she finally came to the dentist, she admitted that she would rather give birth than get a filling—even to help relieve her pain. Lin jokes about how stress-loaded this is, since childbirth is MUCH more painful than anything you could experience at the dentist. But it’s the fear that holds people back.
Next, Lin breaks down why many of us feel fear when faced with going to the dentist. Just like our hand or foot has pain receptors (that help us notice when we touch something hot, for example), our mouth is full of nerves as well. But instead of being full of pain receptors to warn when something is too hot (although that is helpful, too), the pain receptors in the mouth were once particularly beneficial to our ancestors—who commonly ate things that were poisonous. For that reason, our mouth is able to quickly tell when something needs to be spit out.
However, due to the numerous nerve endings and pain receptors, we do feel other pains more intensely in our mouth.
Dental avoidance can lead to significant issues like an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (due to plaque buildup on the teeth and gums). In addition, it can lead to complications with diabetes, as well as low birth weight in babies.
Lin then adds that all of this can also lead to lower confidence levels and feelings of self-worth since people who smile less in order to hide their teeth generally have higher levels of depression. Research has shown that 70% of people with bad teeth say that their smile has negatively impacted their lives.
And poor oral health does not only affect employment prospects, but it also has a negative impact on your social life. This issue is not something that is just affecting older Americans, either. In fact, 33% of young adults have admitted to cutting back on socializing due to bad teeth! Lack of confidence is another contributing factor to a decreased desire to socialize. And with the increased reliance on social media, images are an important component of modern day social constructs.
Finally, Lin explains how so much of this can be solve by simply smiling. Smiling has been proven to significantly improve your life—and the lives of those around you. Smiling makes you appear more trustworthy and genuine and causes those around you to smile, too. This is important for both your professional and personal life. A good smile can help you land new jobs or find that “perfect someone.” It can help lead to a life with greater happiness. If you are ashamed of your teeth, restorative dentistry can bring back your smile; however, as a natural stress reliever and way to decrease blood pressure, just remember to smile!
Also published on Medium.