Put a smile on your face for your own well-being - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Put a smile on your face for your own well-being

Have you smiled today? Research will give you a few more reasons to show those pearly whites.

Close study of 3D ultrasounds show that babies actually smile in the womb, said Dr. Jonathon Rusnak, dentist at Robinson Dental Group. Smiling actually relaxes your chest and lungs and lets you breathe easier. More than that, theories say smiling can change your mood. Celebrated evolutionary scientist Charles Darwin theorized in the 19th century that facial expressions do not just reflect emotion, they can cause those emotions.

As someone who perfects smiles for a living, Dr. Rusnak says a person with a great smile seems, "more confident, more competent. They put other people in a good mood."

A Pennsylvania State study suggests smiling makes a person appear more likeable, courteous and competent.

Dr. Rusnak's key to a confident smile: "a great smile comes from a healthy smile."

More fun smile facts: it takes 14 muscles to smile and research shows babies smile thousands of times a day. Children smile 400 times per day, but by the time a person reaches adulthood he or she only smiles an average of 14 or 15 times a day.

Before you start grinning ear to ear, a Michigan State study finds fake smiling all day long can actually worsen your mood, while genuine smiles can improve it.

With the start of school looming, a University of California at Berkeley study suggests those with a wider smile score higher on standardized testing.

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