Smile… It’s the Best Medicine

By: Dr. Carmen Garcia-Paul

Everyone knows that your mouth is part of your body, but not everyone understands how much your oral health impacts your overall health.

In a position paper published in the year 2000 entitled “Oral Health in America,” the U.S. Surgeon General highlighted the direct link between dental health and a person’s well-being. Since that time, oral infections, particularly periodontal issues or gum disease, have been shown to contribute to such conditions as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and pregnancy complications. Similarly, tooth decay, or bacterial infection of the teeth, can lead to serious medical complications that require emergency intervention if left untreated.

Although it may not be the primary reason patients seek to straighten their teeth, orthodontic treatment goes a long way toward improving oral health. Crooked or crowded teeth often collect plaque and tartar more quickly than straight teeth, and they also are more difficult to clean. Straight teeth can therefore help patients maintain healthier gums and reduce the development of cavities. As explained by the Surgeon General, this improvement can in turn directly impact your overall health.

The benefits of healthy, straight teeth go far beyond physical wellness. It’s also important to consider the emotional impact that a perfected smile can make on your daily life. Many people hide their teeth because they are embarrassed by the appearance of their smile. Straightened teeth can greatly increase self-confidence – directly impacting your ability to interact in social situations, develop strong relationships and excel in your career. Better still, recent research from the University of Kansas reveals that smiling can improve a person’s mood by releasing chemicals in the brain that decrease stress.

So, whether it comes to your oral health, your physical health or your emotional well-being, smiling truly is the best medicine.

Click here to see the¬†article published in Miami’s Inspire Health magazine!