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The Power of A Smile

On a recent flight from Chicago to Los Angeles, the movie “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” was playing, which was quite appropriate as I was experiencing exactly this type of day.

On a recent flight from Chicago to Los Angeles, the movie “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” was playing, which was quite appropriate as I was experiencing exactly this type of day. My flight was delayed 5 hours, so I missed my connecting flight in Los Angeles—the very last plane that would have gotten me home that evening. I was stuck spending the night at a hotel near the airport.

To add to the chaos, I hadn’t eaten for hours, so when I checked into my room, I was starving. I dialed room service and my mood immediately changed when April answered the phone. She was the most upbeat, pleasant person I had encountered all day—I could actually hear her smile over the phone. I told her how much I appreciated her smile. This took her by surprise, as she knew I couldn’t see her, so I explained how her smile came through in her voice. That smile was exactly what I needed!

This made me think about the power of a smile and how it can change not only the person giving it, but also the one receiving it. Oral health professionals often focus on improving smiles to benefit an individual, yet do we realize the effect that a person’s smile may have on others? Our efforts can have a tremendous impact on so many. And while we’re celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, it’s worth noting that keeping smiles healthy from a young age can compound this positive effect over time. The longer people smile throughout their lives, the more they can brighten other people’s days. Over the years, these positive touch points can really add up.

When I was getting ready to leave early the next morning to catch my flight home, there was a knock on my hotel room door. Room service delivered to me a fresh pot of coffee and a croissant, courtesy of April. The power of her smile—and the smile I gave to her in return—carried over beyond our first interaction. And it sustained us both even though we never actually met face-to-face. Smiles are not only seen, but heard in people’s voices and felt by their actions. What tremendous power!

Jill Rethman, RDH, BA
Editor in Chief
[email protected]


From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. February 2015;13(2):10.

 

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