It's all in the smile. Scientists have done copious amounts of research into the mental, physical, and social effects that come about when a person shows off their smile. The overwhelming consensus from the medical and psychological communities is that this simple act not only expresses happiness but also can actually create happiness. And, on top of that, it can create happiness in those around you. Unfortunately, some people, whether because of self-consciousness or a lack of self-confidence, actively shy away from flashing their beaming grin. Those people may often be worried about stained or crooked teeth. If that's the case, people who are holding back their smile should consider cosmetic dentistry. It's not about vanity or personal appearance only; holding a serious expression can affect the world within and around an individual.

For starters, smiling actually releases a number of chemical compounds in your brain that improve your overall mood. A smile releases endorphins, the same neurotransmitters the body produces after physical activity. Endorphins are the brain's naturally produced anti-depressants. A smile also releases amounts of serotonin, which many pharmaceuticals attempt to recreate. Serotonin acts as a sedative, lowering the heart rate and even blood pressure, meaning it can help deal with stress. Perhaps most importantly, this simple act releases the neuropeptides that tie all these other compounds to their receptors. Neuropeptides are like the brain's version of power lines, connecting neurons to each other and improving communication. Smiling, then, makes us happier and calmer, and it improves connections within the brain. If a person's self-reflecting consciousness, also known as their ego, is keeping the corners of their mouth turned down, they are depriving them of these natural neurological benefits. Cosmetic dentistry can improve a person's outward appearance and make that person confident enough to put their grin on display.

That same smile that produces all those wonderful effects within a person can also improve the way people perceive us. In a study at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, researchers asked test subjects to rate different people's friendship, attractiveness, and likeability based only on a photograph. Across the board, the test subjects continuously rated people higher when they were smiling. Even the same people were scored higher in photos where they were smiling. Not only does it impact the way other people perceive us, but it can also affect how those people are feeling.

In another study, this one done by the University of Gottingen in Germany, researchers asked volunteers to react to different photographs of people making various facial expressions. They found that people consistently smiled in reaction to the smiles of others, so gaining all the neurological benefits discussed above. So, not only is it beneficial for the individual, but it's contagious!

Someone who is afraid of showing their teeth need not deprive themselves of all these healthy benefits. Cosmetic dentistry is an excellent option to boost a person's confidence.