Oral Health Solutions

Smiling With a Mask-How to Show You Care

dental office masks

Now more than ever, people are covering up their smile with a mask. Smiling with a mask is not as easy as it used to be so many people have stopped smiling altogether. This can have negative consequences you need to be aware of.

A smile tells others way more about you than you may realize. Not only does a smile portray your mood but it gives others an indication as to your friendliness, confidence and your ability to be approached.

According to Wikipedia, “The history of a smile goes back over 30 million years of evolution to a fear grin stemming from monkeys and apes who often used barely clenched teeth to portray to predators that they were harmless, or to signal submission to more dominant group members.”

Good news! Smiling with a mask can still be accomplished. Learn how to do it and how to show you care. Doing so is more important than ever in these uncertain times. We all could use a little extra TLC and smiling with a mask should be part of your daily goals. Read on and I will explain…Smiling with a mask

Why is Smiling So Important?

Smiling is great for your overall health. The act of smiling boosts your immune system and produces feel good chemicals in your brain. These include the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. These are natural brain chemicals that enhance your sense of well-being.

Did you know that a smile can make you appear more happy, intelligent, attractive, likable and even more trustworthy? Besides how a smile can make you appear to others, there are many more benefits it provides to you as the smiler.

It is a well-known fact that smiling more often can help you live longer and improve your health. According to United Concordia Dental, it does this in several ways. These include lowering blood pressure, improving mood, pain relief, reducing stress and improving immune function. All these benefits help you to live a longer, more enjoyable life.

If you want to take advantage of all these health benefits, it’s easy, all you have to do is smile!

Smiles Covered by Masks- How to Compensate…

A true or genuine smile engages not only the muscles around the mouth, but those around the eyes as well. The muscles involved in producing a smile are the following:

  • Zygomaticus major and minor – A set on both sides of the face, pulls up mouth corners.
  • Orbicularis oculi – Makes corners of eyes crinkle up.
  • Levator labil superioris – Lifts up the corner of nose and lip.
  • Levator anguli oris – Creates a lifting of the angle of the mouth.
  • Risorius – Stretches the mouth corners to the side of the face.

There are different types of smiles. One that is considered a true or genuine smile is also known as the “Duchenne” smile. This type of smile was named after Gulliaume Duchenne who was a French physician who specialized in neurology (a scientific study of the nervous system).

When you smile genuinely and really mean it, you are using the zygomatic major muscles along with the orbicularis oculi muscles. When this happens, the cheeks are raised exposing the teeth and muscles around the eyes (crow’s feet) are scrunched up. So in essence, the cheeks move upwards and the eyes close up.

Others are still going to know that you are smiling when you smile a “Duchenne” smile. The reason for this is that you will be smiling not only with your mouth but with your eyes too. A mask only covers your mouth so, rest assured, your eyes will convey your emotion.

Keep Things Healthy Behind Your Mask

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, “Researchers found evidence that periodontal, or gum disease may negatively affect an individual’s smiling patterns and deter someone from displaying positive emotions through a smile.”

It will be easier to smile if you have a healthy mouth. Learn more about maintaining your oral hygiene under your mask and the key to preventing bad breath while wearing one. Good oral hygiene includes brushing twice a day with an electric toothbrush, and using floss, interdental cleaners or an oral irrigator daily. A healthy mouth is key to a healthy body.

Consider stepping up your oral hygiene routine. Wearing a mask makes you more prone to a dry mouth. Most people tend to consume far less water and other beverages when they are constantly covered in a mask. A lack of saliva can lead to an unhealthy mouth so take steps to treat and prevent dry mouth symptoms.

Along with dry mouth, you need to keep your oral microbiome in balance (keeping the amount of good and bad bacteria in the mouth in balance). By doing so, you can prevent dental issues including bad breath, cavities and gum disease. This can be accomplished by supplementing with an oral probiotic and practicing good oral hygiene.

Go Ahead- Smile Away!Smiling with a face mask on

Smiling benefits you even when you fake it. Studies prove that you can turn a mood around even when you pretend to smile. Research proves that you can trick your brain into feeling more positive.

Dr. Isha Gupta a neurologist from IGEA Brain and Spine explains,“Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness. Serotonin release is associated with reduced stress. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression and aggression.” Dr. Gupta explains that even a fake smile will produce these feel good chemicals in the brain.

A smile is contagious too. Because we have something called mirror neurons in our brain, others will smile if they know we are smiling at them. This can be passed on from person to person creating more positivity. This positivity within can even be created by smiling at yourself in the mirror. Don’t believe me? Try it! You will instantly boost your mood by smiling and by seeing the smile on your face. Best of all, a positive outlook can be achieved even while wearing a mask.

Smiling With a Mask- Yes You Can!

You may be reluctant to smile behind that mask thinking it will do no good. Trust me, others will see your smile in your eyes. There is also no denying the health benefits you, yourself will receive from smiling. So go ahead, give that smile!

Show you care by smiling. You will be conveying happiness, sincerity and confidence in yourself along with displaying kindness and compassion to those who receive your smile. Don’t let mask wearing keep you from experiencing all the health benefits to yourself and others. Remember to focus on the eyes of others because a true smile will be seen in their eyes.

Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below and I would be happy to respond. Keep smiling!

Medical Disclaimer:

The information that I provide on my website is not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Care and investigation should always be sought from an appropriate health care provider before using any new or recommended products. I have created this site as a way to share information and experiences.

4 comments

  1. Md. Asraful Islam

    Thank you so much for sharing a beautiful and insightful article with us. The prime element of this article is Smiling With a Mask-How to Show You Care. It is truly impressive that you covered this subject so well in your post. I’ve learned a lot from reading your article and developed a lot of knowledge about it. I like Keep Things Healthy Behind Your Mask of the points mentioned in your article. We don’t just cover our mouths with masks, we have to think about the health inside the mouth, so we have to be health-conscious about everything from cleaning teeth.
    I’ve read your article and enjoyed it so I’d like to share it with my friends by sharing it in the Facebook community so that everyone knows about your article and gets to know it.

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH

      Md. Asraful Islam,

      I want to thank you for the kind words and your comments. I am glad you enjoyed learning about the importance of smiling while wearing a mask. Also, I am glad you appreciated learning about keeping your mouth healthy underneath your mask. It is so important to keep in mind that the health of the mouth correlates to the health of the body!

      Be well,

      Michelle

  2. Ann

    I have actually put some thought into this. I even thought to myself, well I think that my eyes may show I’m smiling.

    This has been a very interesting read and I didn’t know that others were also thinking as I was concerning smiling during this pandemic. Now that I have read your post I see how important it is to be smiling on a daily basis. Thanks!

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH

      Ann,

      Smiling is so important for our overall well-being. Mask wearing may not be going away anytime soon. I hope more people read this article and share this information on smiling with a mask on. Knowing that our smile can still be seen in our eyes should be encouraging to all. Thank you for your comments.

      Michelle

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