If you know absolutely next to nothing about art, you will still probably know the Mona Lisa. Why is it one of the most famous paintings across time? How did it cut across places and time, drawing the attention of more people than perhaps any painting before or since? One possible answer is: her smile.

People are designed to smile. And to respond to smiles. It’s an integral part of human existence. (Which is why, if you’re not happy with your smile, we can connect you to an optometrist in your neighborhood. Just click here.)

1. A smile begets a smile.

Human brains contain neurons that keep them in sync with the person they’re speaking to. That’s why yawning and sneezing is contagious – but so are smiles.

2. It’s the spoonful of sugar you didn’t know you need.

The act of smiling (but genuine smiling, not the fake, practiced selfie kind) decreases cortisol in the body. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone so reducing it, helps boost your immune system.

3. Smiling starts before life does.

When you were born, you may  have come out crying, but you were smiling long before that – in your mother’s womb.

4. Fake smiles can turn real.

A study (“Grin and Bear It: The Influence of Manipulated Positive Facial Expression on the Stress Response”) concluded that forcing a smile in stressful situations can, in fact, decrease that stress to make you feel happier.

5. A smile really is the prettiest thing you’ll ever wear.

Studies have shown that 70% of people consider smiling faces to be more attractive than faces with makeup.

6. No pressure.

As you know, smiling creates endorphins which elevate your mood, making you feel happier. But those same endorphins also lower your blood pressure, making your body healthier.

7.  Some people climb the corporate ladder. Others fly over it.

And it’s the latter group that the smilers belong to.  Employers tend to promote people who smile often. It shows your boss that you are engaged, easy to work with and open-minded.

8. There are 19 different kinds of smiles.

Science has spent a lot of time studying smiles and reached the conclusion that there are 19 main types – ranging from polite to overjoyed.

9. We were made to smile, not frown.

Although smiling uses more muscles than frowning, the same muscles put in less effort. Which basically means it’s easier to smile than frown. If that isn’t a sign you were meant to be happy, what is?

10. Smiles are meant to be seen from afar.

Human beings can recognize a smile from more than 300 feet away. In the olden days, it helped our ancestors distinguish the difference between friend and foe.

Smiling really is the universal sign for happiness, friendliness and reassurance among all human beings – and quite a few animals. But we’ve found that far too many people aren’t comfortable smiling – largely due to feeling self-conscious about their teeth. That’s why we’ve developed smart tools to help you find an orthodontist close to where you live or work – just click here.

The point of this article was to demonstrate the power of a smile. Use that power. Don’t hide it.