Smiling takes at least ten muscles while frowning requires as few as six. We think the saying should be changed to “smile to burn more calories!” And that isn’t the only health benefit of smiling.
We obviously smile when we’re happy, but studies have suggested that the mere act of smiling is enough to make us feel happier. The feeling of happiness and the physical action of smiling are so tied together in our brains that even a fake smile can release endorphins.
In the short term, endorphins reduce pain and relieve stress, functioning a lot like painkillers. Over time, the effects compound into health benefits like reducing our risk of getting cancer and becoming more resilient against illnesses. This is because when we are better at managing stress, our cells go through fewer stress-induced mutations.
In a lifetime of smiling, we might actually accrue enough health benefits from the cumulative endorphins to give ourselves longer lives. One thing that makes it easier to smile more is to be confident in our smiles, and that’s where professional dental care and diligent brushing and flossing come in.