How a Straight Smile Improves Teens’ Mental Health

by Premier Orthodontics

This March marked two years since the world shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Around the world, people of every age were forced to make changes to their normal way of doing things — and nearly everyone experienced heightened levels of stress. 

Unfortunately, research shows that children and teenagers have had a particularly rough time. Rates of depression and anxiety have risen globally for children and teenagers throughout the pandemic.

Now that masks are coming off and people are reconnecting in person again, the future looks brighter for children and teens. But some may be feeling some lingering stress. 

After hiding behind screens (and masks) for so long, some teenagers might be feeling self-conscious about their smile. They might feel insecure about crooked teeth, or may notice their teeth have shifted during the pandemic. 

To give your child a confidence boost about seeing people in person again, make sure they feel great about their smile. Learn about the mental health benefits of smiling and laughing, and how our team at Premier Orthodontics can help boost your child’s confidence this year.

Help Your Child Reduce Social Anxiety 

As kids and teens re-enter social situations, many are experiencing increased levels of social anxiety. 

After nearly 2 years of interacting primarily online — during critical developmental periods of a child’s life — many young people are feeling nervous about jumping back into face-to-face interactions.  

At Premier Orthodontics, we want your kids to feel excited about seeing their peers again. That means empowering them with a smile they can be proud of. 

Research has shown that orthodontic treatments can significantly increase confidence and reduce mental health issues. 

How? When your teen feels good about their smile, their confidence increases, especially around their peers. And when they feel confident in their smile, they’re more likely to smile more often — which is tied to many mental health benefits. 

The Benefits of Smiling and Laughing 

Smiling doesn’t just look good. It’s actually healthy for you, too! 

Smiling releases neurochemicals in the brain including dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin that boost your mood and make you feel better. Along with the effects of smiling on the brain, smiling reduces stress and relaxes your body, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. 

Smiling and laughing also act as a natural pain reliever and boosts your immune system. Human evolution has made it so that when we’re happy, we’re healthier, too! 

The same is true for laughing. Laughter stimulates organ function and relieves your body’s stress response. It stimulates circulation and relaxes your muscles, soothing tension in your entire body. 

From a social point of view, smiling and laughing are good for building relationships. People who smile and laugh are seen as more approachable. Because we mirror human behavior, being around someone who smiles and laughs often makes you smile and laugh more often. That means being around someone who is smiling and laughing can make you physically feel better. 

All of this is much more appealing when you feel great about your smile. 

How a Straight Smile Can Improve Teens’ Mental Health 

If your child has crooked teeth that make them self-conscious, you might notice them covering their mouth as they smile or laugh to avoid people seeing their teeth.

One study showed that 57% of Americans covered their mouth when they laughed due to insecurity about their teeth. If your teen subconsciously tries to cover their smile and laugh, they might also be subconsciously trying to smile and laugh less. That means they’re missing out on all the feel-good hormones and smiling benefits of showing off their pearly whites. 

Help your kids and teens smile and laugh freely by encouraging them to feel great about their smile through orthodontics. 

Some kids and teenagers may already love the way their teeth look. They may have naturally healthy and straight teeth, or your child may have come to love the quirky differences that make their smile unique. And that’s great! 

But if your child feels insecure about crooked teeth, orthodontics can help. There are so many methods of straightening teeth, from clear aligners like Invisalign to traditional metal bracket braces. At Premier Orthodontics, we assess each individual patient’s smile and discuss the treatment options and timeline best for you. 

How to Straighten Your Child’s Smile

Along with boosting confidence, straight teeth can benefit your child’s health. The health benefits of straight teeth include: 

  • Improved digestion 
  • Fewer cavities
  • Reduced jaw strain 
  • Reduced gum disease 
  • Better sleep 
  • Lower risk of breaking a tooth in an accident 

Premier Orthodontics treats kids, teens, and adults with a variety of treatment options ranging in cost and time. 

Invisalign

Many teens and young adults love Invisalign for its subtle appearance and quick results. From 2013 to 2017, Invisalign saw a 235% increase in teenage patients. 

Clear aligners like Invisalign are so popular because they’re far less noticeable than braces with brackets. In an age where social media and photos are a huge part of a child and teen’s social life, Invisalign can be a great way to help your child get the orthodontic treatment they need without damaging their confidence. 

Invisalign may also offer a shorter treatment time than other options for aligning teeth. We’ve seen patients get the smile they’ve dreamed of in a matter of months rather than years. 

Braces

Clear aligners like Invisalign can treat many cases, but sometimes orthodontists need braces to achieve more drastic changes. 

Traditional braces have been around for decades. Even with new advancements in technology, they’re still a favorite for many orthodontists. 

That’s because braces allow orthodontists the greatest amount of control over the movement of your teeth. Traditional metal braces, clear braces, and temporary anchorage devices help orthodontists treat mild, moderate, and severe alignment issues with maximum control. 

Other Orthodontic Treatments 

In addition to well-known treatment options like braces and clear aligners, Premier Orthodontics offers orthodontic treatments to address nearly any issue your child or teen is experiencing with their teeth. 

Depending on your child’s needs, we may recommend dentofacial orthopedics, oral surgery, Acceledent Aura, or other orthodontic interventions. We’ll discuss the specific treatment options we recommend for your child once we get to know you and learn more about your child’s goals for their teeth. 

Help your child feel great about their smile and build the confidence they need to re-enter social situations. Premier Orthodontics offers free consultations to discuss your options and see what’s best for your child or teen. 

Schedule your free consultation with Premier Orthodontics today >