4 Ways Your Smile Improves Your Life — and the Lives Around You

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Many people go to the dentist not just because they want good oral health, but also because having a great smile is a good confidence booster and makes them more likely to smile more often. But it also impacts those who see that dazzling smile.

“Every day we see people who tell us about how their friends, family and business colleagues are also affected by their new smiles,” says Dr. Ana Castilla, an orthodontist and author of the book, The Smile of Your Life: Everything You Need to Know for Your Orthodontic Journey. “They are just more willing to smile, and they didn’t anticipate how much that would impact others in their life.”

Studies have shown that people believe smilers are reliable, relaxed and sincere. A study published in the Journal of Neuropsychology reported that seeing an attractive, smiling face activates the orbitofrontal cortex, the region in the brain that processes sensory rewards. This suggests that when someone sees a person smiling, they feel rewarded.

As a result, Dr. Castilla says some of the things a smile can do for you include:

1. Make you more attractive. “Your smile is your best accessory,” Castilla says. “Studies have shown that people who smile are automatically viewed as more attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. Seeing an attractive face can be considered a rewarding stimulus, and when a person sees a smiling face, the region of their brain that processes sensory rewards is activated significantly more than when viewing a non-smiling face.”

2. Relieve stress and boost your mood. Science has shown that smiling increases your health and happiness, not just at the moment, but even in the long run, Castilla says. “The more you smile, the healthier and happier you will be,” she says. How so? When you smile, your brain releases signaling molecules called neuropeptides to the rest of your body, she says. These neuropeptides influence your brain, body and behavior in many ways, including reducing stress, aiding sleep and elevating your mood.

3. Lower your blood pressure. When you smile, your brain also releases feel-good neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. These chemicals calm your nervous system by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. “It’s great to know that even when you skip out on going to the gym, you can still work on your health by smiling away,” Castilla says. “Although, I don’t recommend skipping the gym.”

4. Help you make others happy. Smiling not only has the power to elevate your mood, but also can change the moods of others. “If you’re grumpy or rude, then you’re likely to put others in a bad mood or even put them off,” Castilla says. “The same thing happens with laughter and smiling. What happens when you smile at someone? They smile back, of course. Even babies know what to do. Smile at a baby and they will smile right back at you.”

“A beautiful smile is so much more than just straight teeth,” Castilla says. “It is health, confidence and joy. It is what you display during the happiest moments of your life, such as when you graduate from school, get married or your child is born. It is a reflection of your spirit, and make no mistake, it can change your life.”

Reprinted with permission from Castilla Orthodontics. The original post can be found here.

Stress-reducing Tips for Busy Professionals: How to Change Your Focus

By Julie Morris, Life and Career Coach

Letting go of stress when you’re a busy professional is never easy. If you’re in the dental field, you probably already know how much stress and anxiety can affect you on a given day with so many people counting on you to help them. The mental and physical fatigue that can come with job stress can take a huge toll on your mood and your health, so it’s imperative to look for ways to reduce those feelings and focus on the things that matter most.

One of the best ways to do this is to get organized. Figure out what priorities need your attention first and make lists, checking off your tasks as you complete them so that nothing gets overlooked. Then, look for ways you can take a time out during your day to focus on yourself. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes at a time, learning to take care of your own needs even as you’re doing your job can help you learn a healthy balance that will stick with you for a lifetime.

Get organized

Declutter. Keep a journal or planner. Make sure you have contact information for your clients in one spot, where it will be easy to find. Getting organized means making your life easier, and it can help you become better at what you do while simultaneously reducing the stress and anxiety that comes with working long hours or being your own boss. Take the time to make sure your calendar is up to date so you can keep track of your engagements and keep communication open with your family members so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your time. This is especially important if you’re working from home.

Manage your time and money wisely

Good time management is the mark of a professional, and it will allow you to stay on top of your responsibilities while reducing the stress that comes with a busy week. It’s nearly impossible to stay calm and focused when you’re rushed to complete jobs, so sit down and work out a timetable for each project you have on your plate and think of ways you can ensure they’re done without delay. Hint: The solution will rarely be to work more hours or take on more tasks.

Typically, the answer to better time management is actually better money management. Maybe you need to hire more staff, invest in better equipment or increase your efficiency. While the thought of taking out a loan can be stressful, it’s more than just another payment. With proper planning and implementation of resources, more capital means more business. Qualified employees can free up your time by completing tasks that steal your time — like bookkeeping or answering phones — and allow you to take on more projects. It also can mean faster, more efficient equipment or increased inventory so you can sell more, faster. In the end, any of these investments can mean less stress for you.

Outsource

When it comes to managing your time, it’s also a good idea to outsource tasks at home. Some days, there just aren’t enough hours to get everything done without sacrificing eating and sleeping, and that’s when it’s necessary to hire someone to help out. Whether it’s to assist with your lawn work, cleaning your house, running errands or walking your dog, there are companies that can assist you for a reasonable fee. Look online for your specific needs to find one in your area.

Take care of yourself

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is to take good care of yourself. From eating right to getting daily exercise, it’s important to make sure your body and mind are in good shape. If you’re a dental professional, this can be difficult when you work long hours, so make an effort to keep healthy snacks at your desk, and work in some activity during the day. Get up, walk around the office, do some stretches at your desk, or run up and down the stairs a few times to get your heart rate up. These small actions will help relieve stress and will keep you feeling good at the same time.

Getting rid of stress isn’t always easy, especially when you’re working long hours to achieve your goals. However, it’s important to look for small ways you can change your lifestyle so that the stress doesn’t take over. With a good plan, you can start feeling better in no time.

Julie Morris is a life and career coach. More information can be found on her website at juliemorris.org.

ADA Statement on Study Involving Dental Floss

By the American Dental Association

Recent, wide-spread news coverage based upon a recent research study may raise unwarranted concern about the safety of certain types of dental floss. The ADA Science Institute finds the data insufficient to support the conclusions presented in this research and associated media coverage.

No restrictions on the use of dental floss have been issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the regulatory agency that oversees clearance of dental products marketed to the public. It also is important to bear in mind that this is a single study. Public health policy and safety decisions should be based on the collective weight of scientific evidence.

The study, published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, involves a small sample of 178 women and their self-reported use of a wide array of consumer products and foods.

The study measured blood samples from 178 women and found that those who reported using a certain brand of dental floss had higher levels of a type of PFAS called PFHxS (perfluorohexanesulfonic acid) than those who didn’t.

One of many shortcomings of this study, according to the ADA Science Institute, is that the study measured fluorine as a marker of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), though the women in the study who reported using a particular brand of floss were found to have elevated levels of PFHxS.

PTFE often is used in food and beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications. The fact that the researchers were able to find the PTFE marker in several brands of floss does not mean that it is the source of the PFHxS in the women.

Given that this was a retrospective study including self-reported use of products, there are likely many other differences between women who did and did not report having used the brand of floss mentioned.

The ADA sees no cause for concern based on current evidence, and above all continues to encourage people to clean between their teeth daily with floss or another interdental cleaner as part of the ADA’s daily oral hygiene recommendations.

This news release was published on the ADA’s website on Jan. 14, 2019 and can be found here.

Dentists Warn of Dangers Linked to DIY Dentistry

The popular trend of DIY dentistry is popping up in social media and online videos, but the American Dental Association is warning consumers to steer clear of doing at-home dentistry.

FDA member Dr. Monica Gonzalez says she recently noticed alarming changes to one of her patients who used an at-home teeth straightening system.

Click the image below to see the news report.

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