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World Smile Day: Did you know smiling boosts your health, makes you happy?

 Smiling has such powerful positive effects that even “faking it to make it” helps (Shutterstock)

As today marks World Smile Day 2021, October 1, we talk about that infectious clean, pearly white smile.

A sweet, flirty grin from your significant other after a long day can feel like a sight for sore eyes, a familiar place of comfort and love. A well-executed smile at the tail end of a job interview that has gone well can even seal the deal, portraying you as charming, friendly and trustworthy.

In other instances, say in the case of entertainers such as actors and musicians, that flawless smile may be the deciding factor between you and your multi-million shilling contract.

Take for example Academy Award winning actress Julia Roberts, who early on in her career recognized the power of her famous smile - and insured it for a hefty sum.

The Pretty Woman actress is often described first by her smile: it is wide and bright, the teeth prominent and perfectly straight. Hers is a unique grin that many have revved about for years, one of the key features that contribute to her all-American beauty.

Couple with her red hair and hyper, energetic personality, the actress radiates fun and a welcoming, light-hearted nature.

Business Insider has reported that the celebrated actress has insured her famous smile for over Sh 3.3 billion ($30 million).

 Academy Award winning actress Julia Roberts (Shutterstock)

While no other public figure has been confirmed to have insured their grin, other celebrities have insured different body parts that they treasure. Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and supermodel Heidi Klum, for example, have both insured their legs.

Ronaldo’s legs are insured for a whopping Sh15.5 billion ($144 million) while Klum’s are covered for over Sh220 million ($2 million).

Not only is smiling scientifically proven to make one look younger, it improves a person’s mood and contributes towards a stronger immunity.

“A smile spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing certain hormones including dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness. Serotonin release is associated with reduced stress. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression and aggression,” reads in part a 2018 report by NBC News - Smiling can trick your brain into happiness and boost your health.

The report adds that smiling has such powerful positive effects that even “faking it to make it” helps one’s body and mental health.

“The brain is a sucker for a grin. It doesn’t bother to sort out whether you’re smiling because you’re genuinely joyous, or because you’re just pretending. Even forcing a fake smile can legitimately reduce stress and lower your heart rate,” the report adds, noting that people who cannot frown due to Botox injections have even been found to be happier on average than those who can frown.

The World Smile Day holiday started in 1999, and originates from the first drawing of a smiley face - the symbol we have all come to know - drawn by graphic artist Harvey Ball in 1963.

According to nationalday.com, the day is celebrated by giving back to the community and committing random acts of kindness.

The  United States’ Center for Disease and Control (CDC) notes that visiting the dentist once a year, avoiding or quitting tobacco products, drinking fluoride water and using fluoride toothpaste are some key ways to maintain good oral health.

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