Adult Braces

Health Benefits of Smiling

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When you’re feeling down, people will sometimes say “just smile”, and “laugh it off”, but does that have any merit? Can smiling really make you feel better? Smiling does a lot more than simply tell the world that you’re happy, it really can boost your health! Here are the main benefits to flashing those pearly whites:

1. Smiling Through the Pain

Smiling and laughter have both been shown to lessen pain by releasing endorphins – which actually lift our moods! Not only that, these endorphins counteract and diminish stress hormones and many of them act as natural painkillers too. The more genuine the smile, the better for releasing these endorphins.

Smiling may also help to reduce symptoms associated with anxiety. When that smile signals to your brain that you’re feeling happy (even though you’re not really feeling happy…yet), your body will usually slow down your breathing and heart rate. Reducing stress is so important for health, too, as it can lower blood pressure, improve digestion and regulate blood sugar.

2. For the Love of Your Heart

In addition to providing evidence that genuine smiles are more effective for reducing stress than fake smiles, a study from the University of Kansas also suggests that “smiling during a taxing task—not just after—can help the body and mind recover more quickly.” After the heart rates of subjects spiked during the stressful tasks, the hearts of the smilers quickly dropped back down to more relaxed rates than those of the non-smilers. The genuine smilers showed the lowest heart rates of all.

What’s more, another study of nearly 2,000 people published in the European Heart Journal revealed that those with a more positive outlook were less likely to develop heart disease than their more pessimistic peers.

3. The Power of Positivity

According to a Cambridge University study, having a positive attitude can go a long way. Researchers asked subjects to estimate the weight of boxes before they lifted them. Subjects who felt “powerless” were more likely to estimate the boxes as being much heavier than they really were. Those who had a more positive attitude estimated that the boxes weighed less. Not only does this help in your workout, but it can also help you take on everyday tasks – just smile and feel empowered!

Research also shows that smiling is contagious. Ever been around someone who just  emanates positivity? Studies show that something as simple as seeing a friend smile can activate the muscles in your face to make that same expression, without you even being aware that you are doing it.

4. Landing the Job, or the Date

In a study published in the December 2009 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people looked at full-body photographs of people they had never met. The people in the photos had one of two expressions: neutral or a smile. When observers saw the photos of smiling people, they were more likely to think that the person in the photo was likeable, confident, conscientious and stable – all qualities that employers want to see in their future employees!

A more pragmatic benefit is that restaurant workers who serve customers with a smile are observed to receive larger tips and repeat business. Even if you work in an office, smiling can affect the way one person is received by another over the phone!

2011 findings by researchers at the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland showed that smiling actually makes you more attractive to others. Subjects were asked to rate smiling and attractiveness. They found that both men and women were more attracted to images of people who made eye contact and smiled than those who did not.

5. Smiling Leads to Laughing

A myriad of studies have been done on the health benefits of laughing, including how it acts like a mini workout that burns calories and works the abs. Laughter also helps blood flow, lowers blood sugar levels, reduces stress and improves sleep. It may also raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body, which helps boost your immune system.

With so many benefits, it’s hard to think of reasons not to smile! So go ahead and grin Ottawa, it’s good for your health!


Three Common Misconceptions About Adult Braces

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Many adults settle for crooked teeth or an imperfect smile because they believe they have no orthodontic options to correct these issues. There are several different reasons people reject the idea of wearing braces as an adult, most of which should not be concerns at all. Here are some of the misconceptions about adult braces we often hear at our office:

Misconception #1: Braces Are Only for Children and Teenagers

It may surprise many people to learn that one in every five patients in orthodontic treatment is an adult. The idea that your smile can only be changed when you are very young is completely wrong. Just as it’s never too late to improve your physical fitness or nutrition habits, there is no age limit for improving your oral health or the appearance of your smile. We have treated patients in their 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s with great results. Adults can achieve the same benefits from braces as children or teenagers do including: aligned teeth, a more comfortable bite and the ability to brush and floss properly.

Misconception #2: Adult Braces Are Embarrassing

The word braces can automatically trigger images of awkward middle school students with brightly coloured metal covering their teeth, however, technology in orthodontics has come a long way from the head gear of the past. There are now several options for adults who want to correct their smiles while maintaining a mature and professional look during the process. Invisalign treatment involves a series of clear aligners which straighten teeth without the use of metal or wires and are nearly invisible. Incognito braces are customized brackets placed behind the teeth designed to deliver high quality results while being completely hidden from view. Clear ceramic braces work in much the same way as traditional metal braces, but provide a more subtle appearance with a colour very similar to that of a patient’s teeth.

Misconception #3: Braces Are More Painful for Adults

It is a common myth that orthodontic treatment will be more painful for adults since their teeth have already been in a certain position for so many years. In fact, adults undergoing treatment report the same level of soreness as children. Adults and children are typically most uncomfortable in the first 24 hours after an orthodontic adjustment and the discomfort normally disappears within three to five days. Patients who had braces as a child and remember the process being painful will be pleased to learn modern techniques and new technology are more efficient and cause less pressure on the teeth resulting in a more positive experience overall.

If you have been considering adult braces to achieve a beautiful smile, make chewing more comfortable or improve your overall oral health, we hope this information has helped to ease some of your concerns. Adult braces are effective, aesthetically pleasing, and cause a minimal amount of discomfort. We encourage you to read more about the benefits of adult braces and available treatment options on our website, or give us a call at 613-722-8500 to ask questions or set up an appointment.