Monthly Archives: July 2015

A Smiley Emoticon Can Change Your Brain?

smiley face

We all know the importance of a healthy smile. It has been shown in studies that not only does a healthy smile do wonders for you overall health, smiling itself transmits feedback to your left frontal cortex. This feedback triggers a release of serotonin and dopamine which are known as the “happiness” neurotransmitters. Dopamine has a role in mood, sleep, motivation, cognition, learning and working memory. Serotonin also plays a role in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning. To put it simply, just the act of smiling “tricks” your brain into feeling happy.

Studies conducted by the University of California’s psychology department have also shown that body language, including the act of smiling, play a role in perceiving charisma. This study found that charismatic people often smiled more than the average joe. This only applied to a genuine smile that is signified by the crinkling of the eyes. Also, interestingly, cross-culturally all smiles are seen as friendly. All across the world smiles indicate inclusiveness, friendliness and positive reception.

Perhaps most interestingly, when one person smiles at another, it is instinctual to smile in return. All facial expressions tend to create a mirror effect of corresponding feelings. So in turn when you smile at someone it can change their emotional state in a positive manner. This leads to another question.

Do emoticons have the same effect?

As it turns out, yes they do! A study out of Finders University in Australia demonstrated that the brain scans of people looking at emoticon smiley faces are similar to those of people looking at an actual human face smiling. So if you want to spread the positive energy around don’t let your lack of confidence in your smile hold you back. Contact the staff at Prescott Dentistry for a beautiful, healthy smile that you can share with the world.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/28/2015) Miguel Pires da Rosa (Flickr)

Does Smiling Run in Your Family?

Sometimes we come across people that can only be described as having a genuinely bubbly and positive personality. It seems to just ooze from their pores, while the rest of us aren’t always able keep a smile on our faces. Perhaps you are the person we’re describing that can’t seem to stop from smiling. There’s always the argument of nature vs. nurture. Some say people are just born this way, others say they are conditioned by their environment. Those who say it’s all environment may have to rethink their position according to a recent study. At Prescott Dentistry, your dentist in Prescott, AZ, we strive to keep your smile in tip top shape, but keep reading if you are interested in knowing why some of us are prone to sporting that smile a bit more often.

As it turns out this tendency to smile and find pleasure in the simpler things in life could be based in our genes. A recent study suggests that people with short alleles of the gene 5-HTTLPR tended to laugh and smile more often than those with the long allele variant of the gene. It is believed that this gene regulates the neurotransmitter that is involved with social behavior, mood, appetite, memory, fun, sleep and sexual desire – serotonin.

These findings correspond with a study done previously that demonstrated people with these same short alleles show more empathy towards their partner’s emotions, whether they were negative or positive. It has been made evident between these two studies that the short allele of 5-HTTLPR can intensify emotional reactions whether they are positive or negative. Whether you have the long or short allele variant of this gene, it is still vital to have healthy teeth. So take a moment to contact Prescott Dentistry and schedule your biannual visit today!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/17/2015) Andrea Rose (Flickr)

Biomimetic Dentistry & The Dangers of “Juicing”

biomimetic dentistry & juicing

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “everything in moderation.” Well as it turns out when it comes to a new diet trend known as “juicing” this phrase is as relevant as ever. Juicing is a new fad where people are extracting the juice from plant tissues such as vegetables and fruit. This is accomplished with either manual or electric grinders where the plant material is ground and grated into a juice. This process, while seemingly healthy and innocent, may have some significant drawbacks relating to biomimetic dentistry and your over all health.

According to the USC School of Dentistry, this trend is dangerous to your dental health because fruit juices are extremely high in natural sugars which leads to tooth decay just like soft drinks and candy. Vegetable and fruit juices are also very acidic which leave your teeth susceptible to decay and erosion. If you are considering the juicing route, be sure to wait at least half an hour after drinking your juice to brush. It’s important to allow your mouth’s pH balance to return to normal to prevent additional damage. Another useful tip is to drink highly acidic juices through a straw to avoid unnecessary contact between the acidic liquid and your enamel.

The main emphasis of biomimetic dentistry is the mimicry of nature and using methods resembling how your teeth naturally function to treat oral health. Considering this idea, what is more natural than chewing? Juicing virtually eliminates the act of chewing – if that is the primary way you are ingesting your meals. Chewing plays an important function that creates blood flow and strengthens your teeth. In the long term, a lack of chewing can end in tooth decay. Not only that, the act of chewing preps the digestive tract, if you don’t chew your digestion can be more sluggish.

Considering juicing or any other diet you aren’t sure about? Consult the staff at Prescott Dentistry to get a professional opinion on how it will effect your oral health before committing to any major changes.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/14/2015) bertholf (Flickr)

The Case of the Missing Millennials


It seems millennials just can’t catch a break. Every day a new article finds it’s way onto the web detailing the shortfalls of the newest addition to the United States adult population. Unfortunately, this article might just fall into that category as well.

Participants of a recent study between the ages of 18 and 24 are more interested in using “Tinder” than brushing their teeth. Forty percent of those reported that they spent less than a minute brushing their teeth. However, the older segment of the millennial generation are doing a bit better than their younger counterparts. Those surveyed that were ages 25 to 34 were more likely to brush twice daily, but 20% of those said they missed brushing at least once regularly.

If you are too busy using Tinder to brush your teeth, you may want to reconsider. Your dating life might be a little more successful if you spend 2 minutes twice a day brushing your teeth so that you have a healthy and attractive smile. Not only will your teeth look better, your overall health will benefit. Contact the staff at Prescott Dentistry to assure your dating life won’t be hindered by an unhealthy smile!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/7/2015) (Flickr)