Did you know your smile predicts the length of your marriage? How you look in old school photos can tell you whether or not your marriage will last. Sound crazy? Maybe, but this seemingly absurd notion is actually backed by science.
Matthew Hertenstein from DePauw University analyzed the connection between photos from childhood and the divorce rate of over 700 Americans. Hertenstein collected pictures from school and rated them on a scale from one to ten based on how intensely they smiled in the photos. He noted the relationship status of the participants. Those who were divorced were already smiling less as students. Furthermore, those who looked particularly serious in their youth were three times more likely to have divorced as an adult.
If you’ve ever wondered what dental details say about you, now you know. A smile can predict the future.
The Science Behind Your Smile (and Laughter)
A smile takes place through facial expressions in which the mouth is pulled wide, the teeth become visible, and wrinkles appear around the eyes. A friendly smile spreads a good mood and is contagious.
Did you know your eye area reveals whether your smile is real? If you detect an insincere smile, pay attention to the eyes. Our true, genuine smile is named after the French psychologist Guillaume-Benjamin Duchenne. In studies in the 19th century, he noticed that when you smile honestly, not only the corners of your mouth pull up, but also small wrinkles can be seen in the corners of your eyes. This is the so-called Duchenne smile.
The friendly facial expression not only has the power to forge and strengthen bonds, but it also reduces anger and is the perfect social lubricant.
You Don’t Need to Run a Marathon—Just Laugh Instead
From a medical perspective, there are special therapies that try to combat illness with smiles and laughter. The release of hormones strengthens the immune system and thus also prevents diseases. For example, when you laugh, you activate endorphins that trigger euphoric effects comparable to those experienced by a long-distance runner.
Laughing stimulates the cardiovascular system, diaphragm, vocal cords, and your facial and abdominal muscles. This leads to increased blood pressure, increased oxygen in your blood, and a kind of internal massage of the lower abdomen. The physical exertion associated with this can easily lead to pain in the stressed muscle areas in people who otherwise laugh little. However, with prolonged laughter (about five to eight minutes), these symptoms give way to a feeling of relaxation and calm.
When laughing, your body engages in a high-performance sport. There are 17 muscles in the face and 80 muscles in the whole body. The eyebrows rise, the nostrils widen, the zygomatic muscle pulls the corners of the mouth up, the eyes narrow, the breath goes faster, and the air shoots through the lungs over 60 miles per hour.
From your face to your stomach, almost 300 different muscles are involved in laughing. The “laughing muscle” alone, the zygomaticus, tenses 15 facial muscles, including those of the tear sac. That’s why some people laugh so hard that they cry.
Smiling From the Beginning
Mouth and eye-ring muscles are used from an early age by people of all cultures to form the characteristic facial expression of a smile. It starts with newborns grimacing or scrunching up their faces, usually in their sleep, into what looks like a smile but isn’t yet one.
By four to eight weeks old, babies start smiling at others. Even infants who are blind from birth can do this. All parents melt at the sight of a little toothless mouth open, and the corners of the mouth pull upwards slightly thanks to finely tuned muscle contractions.
Cool Facts About Smiles
- The sound of male laughter has at least 280 vibrations per second.
- The sound of female laughter has at least 500 vibrations per second.
- During laughter, bladder muscles relax, hence the saying “pee your pants while laughing.”
- Aristotle believed that the ability to laugh distinguishes humans from animals.
- Bears cannot laugh because they lack the muscles in their face that make up facial expressions.
- A hearty attack of laughter can, for a short time, trigger euphoric sensations.
- Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
Smiling is more than a contraction of your facial muscles. It’s a signal that wins friends and aces interviews. You don’t have to have perfect teeth to share a perfect smile. If you are self-conscious about your smile, call us today at 317-745-4400. The highly skilled specialists at Danville Family Dentistry are here for you.
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.