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Visiting the Dentist Regularly Leads To A Happier Life

Updated: Feb 21

WHO ARE THE HAPPIEST AMERICANS? The answer may surprise you! National Geographic bestselling author Dan Buettner and social scientists from Gallup interviewed nearly 250,000 adults from 2014 to 2015 in 190 metropolitan areas across the US to develop an index that assesses measurable expressions of happiness and identify where Americans are living their best lives, according to an article by National Geographic.

Buettner's research found Boulder, Colorado at the top of America's happiest city list with locals listing qualities like a sense of community, access to nature, sustainable urban development, and preservation policies. Boulder locals cite feeling "active and productive every day," Buettner said, with more people walking to work in the Rocky Mountain city, than any other city in the US. Satisfaction also came from low rates of smoking and obesity, and high rates of exercise.

When it comes to the 25 Happiest Cities in America, overall Northern California scored very well! Coming in right after Boulder at number two was Santa Cruz-Watsonville, with San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande following at number five, and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara at number six. Not far behind, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward came in at 17.

So you may be wondering, what does this all have to do with the dentist?

Buettner's research also tapped the findings of Dan Witters, the Research Director of Gallup National Health and Well Being. Witters studied the "hallmarks of the most content communities", looking at the interconnected factors that almost always appear together.

He identified 15 of what he calls "cowbell" metrics that signal true happiness. Here they are:

If you agree with these statements, you are happier than most people

  1. You manage your finances well and live within your means. You have enough money to do everything you want to do.

  2. You set and reach goals on an ongoing basis.

  3. You always make time for trips or vacations with family and friends.

  4. You use your strengths to do what you do best every day.

  5. You feel safe and secure in your community.

  6. You learn something new or interesting every day.

  7. You have someone in your life who encourages you to be healthy.

  8. You eat healthy every day.

  9. You eat five servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days every week.

  10. You get to the dentist at least once per year.

  11. In the last 12 months, you have received recognition for helping to improve the city or area where you live.

  12. You don’t smoke.

  13. You are of a normal, healthy weight. 

  14. You exercise at least 30 minutes at least three days per week.

  15. You are active and productive every day.

Interestingly, Buettner found the following:

There’s a strong correlation between quality of water and happiness. And places where people frequent their dentists report being more satisfied with their lives.

When people have clean, healthy teeth, through access to affordable and regular dental care, they tend to thrive and be happier. While the dentist's office may not be the first place you associate with happiness, there's no doubt that good oral health and hygiene puts everyone in a better mood.

Overall, it makes a lot of sense that happiness doesn't come from one single thing but from multiple, interconnected factors: an active lifestyle, consuming healthy food, having proximity to nature, maintaining healthy behaviors, and living in environments that are safe and promote physical activity and socializing.

That said, if visiting the dentist is one path to greater happiness, consider this your gentle reminder to schedule your next appointment! A clean and happy smile await you on the other side.



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