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Smiles Are for Sharing

A Random Act of Kindness for World Smile Day

World Smile Day is the first Friday in October, and we’re celebrating with an infographic that had us grinning from start to finish. We learned a lot in our research to find fun, interesting, and useful information to share with you. We hope you’ll let us know if it made you smile too.

Here’s the infographic (scroll below it for the text version, which includes links).

Smiles Month Infographic

Text Version

World Smile Day and the Original Smiley Face

Harvey Ball created the smiley face in 1963 for a company morale campaign. It “went viral” and just kept going! In 1999, he founded World Smile Foundation, a non-profit charitable trust that supports children’s causes, and World Smile Day® to encourage people everywhere to devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts throughout the world. Imagine what Harvey would have thought of all the emojis! This CNN article tracks the evolution of the smiley face.

Why So Serious?

In the olden days, people didn’t smile much in pictures. There’s speculation but no certainty about why, but one popular theory relates to bad teeth! Learn more in this article from Time Magazine. Dentistry wasn’t always a specific profession. Some think that the professionalization of dental care contributed to the willingness to smile in pictures. You’re welcome!

Kids Lead the Way on World Smile Day

It turns out we all need to take the lead from our kids more often!

“Research shows that children smile an average of 400 times per day, compared to the average happy adult who smiles 40–50 times per day and the typical adult who smiles only 20 times per day,” according to Henry Ford LiveWell.

Smizing: Smiling With Your Eyes

Now that masking is common, we’re all “smizing more.” Supermodel and TV personality Tyra Banks coined the term “smize or smizing” in 2009 on the reality TV series America’s Next Top Model when teaching contestants the common modeling practice of bringing expression to their eyes without changing the expression on the rest of their face. 

A Smile a Day…

The health benefits of smiling are well documented. From an instant mood boost (even when you’re faking it!) and a stronger immune system to a reduction in stress and blood pressure, smiles are good medicine. We prescribe them every day, not just on World Smiles Day!

Did You Know?

A primate (monkey, chimpanzee, ape, baboon, etc.) bearing a toothy grin is displaying aggression, fear, stress, or submission, NOT happiness. This is one smile you don’t want to reciprocate, EVEN on World Smile Day!

Myth or Truth? It takes more muscles to frown than smile

MYTH! According to an article in LiveScience, A true smile — the kind that involves eye muscles that only 1 percent or so of humans can consciously control — probably takes quite a few more muscles than a frown, while a slight, we-are-not-amused, corners-of-the-mouth upturn takes the tug of only one or two pairs.”

What is a Duchenne Smile?

In our World Smiles Day research, we learned from an article in New Scientist that “Humans can produce thousands of distinct facial expressions — including 19 different types of smile, according to research by the American psychologist Paul Ekman. However, only one of these is a “genuine” or Duchenne smile. Discovered by French anatomist Duchenne de Boulogne in 1862, the key difference between this “real” happy smile and a “fake” happy smile lies in the orbicularis oculi — muscles that wrap around the eyes. All smiling involves the contraction of the zygomatic major muscles, which lifts the corners of the mouth. But a Duchenne smile is characterized by the additional contraction of the orbicularis oculi, crumpling the skin around the eyes into crows’ feet. Duchenne’s finding was largely overlooked at the time, but Ekman showed that he was right, and named the smile of pure pleasure in his honor.

How Many Toothy Smiles Can You Recognize?

There are lots of different kinds of smiles. We found 10 that show teeth. Check out the Infographic to match them with representative pictures, and find the answer key!

  1. Happiness / Duchenne (genuine)
  2. Reward (as a mother to a child)
  3. Polite (have a nice day)
  4. Flirtatious (come hither)
  5. Dominant (Go ahead, make my day.)
  6. Embarrassed (oopsie daisies)
  7. Forced (“say cheese!”)
  8. Fearful (I can’t watch!)
  9. Miserable (through tears)
  10. Contempt (I’ll get you my pretty…)

Join the Conversation for World Smile Day

We hope you learn something new and maybe get a chuckle out of our infographic! 

It would be great to hear from you on our Facebook page about something in it that surprised you or made you laugh, and the random acts of kindness you and your family will do in honor of World Smile Day. Follow and tag @worldsmileday on Facebook too! 

We hope you know you can contact us anytime with your questions and concerns. We’d be happy to discuss it with you on the phone or at your next appointment. To schedule your visit now, complete our contact form, or call our office at 815-886-0875.

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