Amid April showers or the lack of it, tax woes and the harsh reality that all New Year’s resolutions have been for naught, it is quite fitting for April to be designated as National Humor Month. Any month that’s ushered in with “Happy Fool’s Day” is the best candidate for a celebration of lighthearted exchanges, good-natured pranks and many ways to laugh. It is not a marked with a shopping extravaganza as other holidays tend to be because laughter, after all, comes free. The event was founded in 1976 by Larry Wilde, a comedian, writer and life coach. Funnyman Wilde sought to promote greater awareness of the therapeutic potential of laughter in improving morale, communication skills and overall health and quality of life. After 41 years, this month-long celebration is still going strong as even more science-backed research has shown the restorative value of humor in winning at life.
What it Takes to Laugh
Laughter may be audible or a quiet expression of merriment accompanied with a distinctive feeling of pleasure and joy. It is a brain-regulated reaction, and strong laughter may bring on tears and some muscle pain in certain areas. The onset may be preceded with a smile, displaying your teeth, which is a positive signal in social interactions. Laughter is a reaction to physical, visual and verbal stimuli, but it is also feedback, the effect of which may be contagious. Many TV shows still use recorded laugh tracks to encourage positive audience feedback.
Physiological Effects of Humor
It has been said that it takes fewer muscles to
smile than it does to frown. But putting energy conservation aside, finding your funny bone can have an immediate impact on your mindset and attitude. Much like physical exercise, research has shown that guffaws large and small can boost the heart rate and increase blood flow to improve
circulation and oxygen delivery to the tissues. Facial muscles tend to stretch and calories are burned in the process. Even a simple smile can alter your mood and that of the people around you. Try baring your teeth in a cutesy way on that grumpy co-worker or the frazzled barista, and see what you get in return.
Laughter reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone produced as a reaction to stressful conditions. Laughter increases the production of endorphins, which is a hormone involved in pain reduction. It has also been shown to increase T-cell production, proteins involved in building immunity and antibodies.
A deep-seated belly laugh can help relieve physical tension, relaxing tense muscles while relieving emotional stress in the process. This muscle-relaxation technique can have an impact on your body for up to 45 minutes with minimum sweating involved. Naturally, increasing blood flow and the circulation efficiency can boost cardiovascular health. Smiles, grins and laughter showcase your teeth and enviable dental work. Laughter is a valuable stress-management technique that can help everyone focus while building camaraderie and enhancing team effort.
Laughter and Fun by the Numbers
A survey conducted by SKOUT show that just about everyone understands the value of humor in life. Survey results showed that 75 percent of respondents consider themselves funny, and 94 percent profess that they like making people laugh. Those who confess to being practical jokers have the most close friends while those who favor self-deprecating or sarcastic wit have fewer friends. If you’re willing to change your zip code to incorporate more laughter in your life, Houston, Los Angeles and Atlanta are the places to go because this is where 98 to 100 percent of survey respondents indicated that they want you to have a good time.
Laughter may come easily for you, so you tend to take it for granted. Take this special talent, and spread the gift to those you encounter during National Humor Month and every day for the rest of your life.
A Reason to Smile: Sensitive Teeth are Often Easy to Treat
If you’re experiencing recurring or sudden sharp pain when drinking hot beverages or eating frozen treats, or while brushing and flossing, then sensitive teeth may be to blame. Tooth pain can occur for many different reasons, and some are easier to pinpoint than others. You may be brushing your teeth too vigorously, thus damaging the enamel, or you could have a more serious oral health issue, such as gum disease. Your dental hygienist can diagnose the reason for tooth sensitivity and help treat the root cause, but identification and prevention also begin at home.
Symptoms and Causes of Sensitive Teeth
The symptoms of tooth sensitivity can manifest in different ways depending on the individual. Generally, pain in the teeth and gums, especially while eating and after dental treatment, including routine cleaning, is the prime indicator of tooth and gum sensitivity. Causes of oral pain also vary widely but include the following:
• A cracked or chipped tooth
• Tooth decay
• Worn tooth enamel
• Periodontal disease
• Receding gums
• Exposed tooth roots
Correctly identifying the cause of tooth pain is essential to proper treatment and improved oral health.
At-Home Treatment of Sensitive Teeth
Proper oral hygiene is the key to both a great smile and a healthy mouth, and you may be surprised to find that you haven’t been caring for your teeth properly, leading to sensitivity. Make sure to continue your twice-daily brushing routine, but reduce pressure when you brush and consider using a brush with soft bristles. You should also avoid brushing directly after eating foods with high acidity, like tomatoes and citrus fruit, because acidic foods weaken tooth enamel.
Desensitizing toothpaste is often the first line of defense when you’re dealing with tooth sensitivity. Available over the counter, many people find relief after using this type of toothpaste as part of their oral hygiene regimen. While brands vary, active ingredients in desensitizing paste typically include nerve-blocking agents, such as strontium chloride and/or potassium nitrate. Some patients report better results when the active ingredient is stannous fluoride, but desensitizing toothpaste containing it is available only by prescription.
In-Office Treatments for Tooth Sensitivity
If you can’t find relief from tooth pain by utilizing at-home methods, then a visit to your dentist may be in order. Your dental hygienist may use a fluoride gel treatment to help reduce sensitivity and improve your smile. Dependence on the reason for your tooth pain and its severity, your dentist might recommend a more invasive treatment option. Many in-office treatments, including those that combat sensitivity, are covered by your dental insurance. These treatments may include:
• Fillings or crowns
• A root canal
• Inlay or bonding
After treating your tooth sensitivity issue, your dentist will likely schedule a follow-up visit within a month to make sure the treatment is working and to check for additional issues that may be negatively impacting your smile. Make sure to follow instructions from your hygienist regarding proper oral health care after treatment to avoid a recurrence of tooth pain.
Oral Health: at the Forefront of Everyone’s Mind This Year
In 2015, more and more medical reports started to emerge about the importance of oral health on a person’s general health. In fact, poor oral hygiene was tied to a number of health risks, including cardiovascular conditions and problems with pregnancy. However, scientists also released reports about genetic issues that can predispose certain people to developing more plaque, playing into a higher likelihood that a patient will develop gingivitis. These types of patients require more frequent monitoring through no fault of their own. Meanwhile, holistic health enthusiasts became entranced by the alleged health benefits of oil pulling, an Ayurvedic remedy in which people swish oils in their mouths.
Making a New Year Resolution to Prioritize Healthy Gums and Teeth
With such an increased focus upon oral health, it’s no wonder that many people are making it a New Year resolution to achieve a healthy smile this year. Whether you were born with dazzling teeth or need some help in that department, regular trips to the dentist are the best way to ensure that your New Year resolution is actually a success this year.
To guarantee that this year start off on the right foot, researching your dental insurance options is an excellent idea. Dentalinsurance.com offers the right plan, at the right price, and you can get it right now.
Scheduling Regular Cleanings and Necessary Procedures Will Prevent Future Problems
When it come to maintaining dental health, the most effective strategy is to see your dentist regularly. Although a cleaning is recommended every six months or so, everyone’s mouth is different. Depending upon your dental history and the condition of your teeth, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings.
There’s never been a better time to start exploring what types of dental insurance benefits are available to you. Life can toss all sorts of curve balls your way, which is why insurance will offer you some peace of mind. Whether it’s a chipped tooth from eating corn nuts or a sudden need for a root canal, all sorts of unexpected happenings can occur when it comes to your smile. Making sure that your insurance is taken care of will ease the bite from any unexpected dental expenses that may come your way.
Starting the New Year off with a Sensational Smile
Although it has been said frequently, it cannot be overstated: your smile is one of the very first things that people notice about your physical appearance. This new year provides an excellent opportunity to review how much attention you’ve been giving to your overall physical health, especially your gums. If you’re like most people, then it’s probably time to step up your game. Dental health can fall by the wayside sometimes, which is why it’s important to take action immediately.
As the months pass by, it becomes easier to let your dental health slip by for some more time. Before you know it, another year will have passed by and you’ll be frustrated that you didn’t research your dental care options earlier. Studies have shown that the most effective way to tackle a goal is to take some kind of action as soon as possible. Whether it’s talking to a friend about their insurance or getting online and looking up dental offices near you, resolve to take at least one small step towards finally putting your dental health in order. One year from now, you will be thrilled that you did.
Okay, you probably knew that headline was click bait. Still, now that we have your attention, try this little experiment: smile.
Don’t just make a smiley face, though. Do what method actors do. Think about something that can’t help but make you smile. Got it? Good! Now, smile again.
How’d that make you feel? If you’re like most people, you probably feel better – maybe even a lot better – than you did before you started reading this.
Here’s another experiment you might want to try. Smile at a stranger and see what they do. There’s a very good chance they’ll smile back at you. Why?
Why, because people are wired that way, that’s why. Of course, we’re also wired to yawn when other people yawn, but that’s a blog for another day.
National Smile Week: What’s the point?
Happy, healthy smiles are the currency of our social lives. (How’s your selfie stick holding up, BTW?) So it’s hardly surprising that days and even weeks would be dedicated to these fleeting, fascinating facial gestures.
That’s the case with the second week in August each year, National Smile Week. As if anyone needed a reason to spread some smiles around.
But maybe that’s the point. Share a smile – even for the slightest of reasons. Even for no reason at all! And why not?
After all, studies have shown that putting on a smile can actually lift your spirits. You just proved that with our first little experiment.
A little mad science you can try at home
Now, it’s time to try a mad science experiment of your own. Here’s your challenge: See if you can infect your social network with a smile!
Any kind of smile will do. Maybe share one about puppies and babies, for example? Or maybe one that comes from remembering a shared experience, teacher, or loved one. Heck, if this blog made you smile, you could even share it (wink, nudge).
There are millions of types of smiles you could share. Which one will you choose?
Whatever kind of smile you share today, here’s hoping yours sends ripples of warm, happy feelings through the sea of people you count among your friends.
Have a great National Smile Week! Oh, and maybe send a thank you note to your dentist. Just saying…
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