A healthy smile has significant health benefits. Studies have demonstrated that laughter has both therapeutic and preventive gains for your physical and neurological health.

However, most people are not aware of how a simple smile can contribute to their health.

In this article, Dr. Young H. Kim, DMD, at Lincolnway Dental Center in Aurora, Illinois, shares some of the reasons why you need to smile and laugh more for your overall well-being.

Why Are Smiling and Laughter Good for Your Health?

Here are some ways smiling and laughing can transform your life:

Lowered Stress Levels

When your body begins to feel stress, your adrenal glands release cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Studies show that chronic cortisol secretion elevates your blood pressure and heart rate. Over time, this puts you at a higher risk of cardiac disorders.

Laughing immediately increases your heart rate and improves your oxygen consumption. This is followed by a decreased heart rate, relaxed muscles, and lowered blood pressure.

Strengthened Immunity

The human body consists of two types of white blood cells – lymphocytes and phagocytes. They defend the body against antigens including viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells. The absence of laughter in life reduces your body’s natural immunity, making you more susceptible to infections and diseases.

According to studies, laughter moderates stress chemicals leading to immunoenhancement.

Reduced Pain

Smiling and laughing improve your ability to manage pain. The science behind this is that smiling makes your pituitary gland release endorphins, your body’s endogenous opiates. Producing a morphine-like effect, they reduce pain and induce a sense of well-being.

Optimized Weight 

Obesity is linked to a low quality of life and an increased risk of serious medical conditions. These include stroke, diabetes, heart diseases, and certain types of cancers.

When you laugh more, your cortisol levels, which lower your metabolism and store fat, are reduced. Eventually, this leads to calorie expenditure and weight loss over time.

How to Add More Smiles and Laughter to Your Life?

Below are some of the ways you can ensure you smile and laugh more:

  • Spend time with sociable people who can make you laugh
  • Make conscious efforts to look for humor, particularly in stressful situations. It could be a goofy video or a funny comic book.
  • Simulate laughter. Your body cannot distinguish between spontaneous and simulated laughter.

To learn more about the health benefits of smiling and laughter, contact Lincolnway Dental Center at (630) 897-1300 or visit us at 648 North Randall Road, Aurora, IL 60506.

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