South Austin Dentist Discusses the Psychology of Smiling

Smiles come in all different shapes and sizes. Many people simply lump all smiles together, but psychologically, not all smiles translate into the same type of expression. People react differently to various stimuli by producing smiles. However, not all smiles fall into the category of genuine. Smiles can conceal deceit or simply serve as a way to alleviate tension. Your South Austin dentist, Dr. Steven Van Wicklen, discusses the psychology of smiling.

Duchenne Smiles

Initial studies on the psychology of smiling occurred in the mid-1800s. Guillame Duchenne, a French anatomist, catalogued and published books regarding various types of smiles. Most notably, Duchenne determined that a truly genuine smile only occurred when the orbicularis oculi kicks into action. The orbicularis oculi surrounds the eye and causes the face to form crow’s feet for a couple seconds when smiling. For his discovery, the genuine smile is commonly referred to as a “Duchenne smile.”

Modern Era Smile Study

Through the early 1900s, many scientists dismissed much of Duchenne’s work and labeled all smiles as equal in terms of conveying emotion. However, later studies began focusing on the long-term impact of people whom showed smiles of genuine happiness. According to a decades-long study, women whom flashed a Duchenne smile in their high-school yearbook fared better than their forced-smile counterparts.

Women with genuine smiles of happiness reported better marital happiness in their 50s. Women with positive smiles during high-school also proved twice as likely to remain alive until their 50s. The study spanning multiple decades provided insight into how to predict the potential futures of current high school students.

Importance of Smiling

Smiling signifies confidence and acts as one of the first things people notice. A powerful smile can brighten up another person’s day. Charles Darwin wrote about the villainous applications of smiles, but most people use their smile to connect with others, not deceive. Additionally, studies prove that people enjoy using their smile to attract others. Maintaining a healthy smile capable of attracting others involves committing to your oral hygiene. Brush twice daily, floss regularly, and use an ADA-approved mouthrinse. If you’re looking for smile improvements with cosmetic dentistry, we can help. We offer

Schedule Your Visit for a Healthy Smile

If you would like to learn more about the power and psychology of smiling, contact your Austin dentist. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Van Wicklen by calling (512) 448-3131. Located in the 78704 area, we proudly serve the cities of Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Bastrop, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, and all surrounding communities.