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Charity campaign continues to raise vital awareness of oral health

07 July 2016

Charity campaign continues to raise vital awareness of oral health

Friday, 1 Jul 2016 12:00

The 40th Birthday of National Smile Month has been celebrated up and down the country is what has been a momentous and emotional occasion for its organiser's the Oral Health Foundation. 

Since its inception in 1977 the campaign has grown to become the UK's largest and longest running campaign to improve the nation's oral health, and continues to exceed all expectations in shaping the future of oral health around the world.

This year the charity asked the nation to join in their extraordinary birthday celebrations by helping to share three simple key messages at the heart of good oral health; brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste, cut down on how often you eat sugary foods and drinks, and visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. 

Due to incredible levels of support from the dental health community, schools and educators, as well as from the general public, the nation has well and truly delivered. 

The campaign, which took place between May and June, had the backing of more than 3,000 individuals and organisation, including over 500 schools, reaching more 
than 85,000 school children. 

CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, reflected upon the sheer scale and success of this year's campaign.

Dr Carter says: "We knew from our special birthday party launch, in a stunning rooftop garden in west London, that this year's National Smile Month would be something very special, and we were proven absolutely right.

"Over the last 40 years we have seen the campaign grow year on year and it really takes me back to see how far we have come and how the campaign has coincided with some of the major oral health improvements in the UK.

"This year the continued incredible support has resulted in more than 2,000 known events and activities all promoting the value of good oral health. Importantly many of these took place in local communities, targeting those who might not access primary dental care.

"A lot of the credit really needs to go to the dental community who have helped us reach an estimated six million patients nationwide. It never ceases to amaze us how they take it upon themselves to go out into their local communities and help educate on the importance of good oral hygiene. 

"It's especially encouraging to see the campaign being taken directly into thousands of classrooms. Educators delivering lessons are vital as when children learn good habits at such a young age they are more likely to carry them through into the rest of their lives."

Once again National Smile Month social media support has been immense and has really helped make profound difference. The Oral Health Foundation distributed more than 150,000 smileys which have been put into good use is many wonderful, and often unbelievable, ways. 

Posts with #MySmileySelfie have been used thousands of times to share pictures of people celebrating National Smile Month with what has become one of the key aspects of the campaign.

"On behalf of the Oral Health Foundation, I would like to like to thank each and every individual and organisation that made the 40th National Smile Month such a resounding success. You have really shown that good oral health is important to us all," Dr Carter adds.

"Since its inception National Smile Month has been a positive force in raising awareness of important issues regarding our oral health. We're delighted to see so many people continuing to embrace the campaign and take National Smile Month to their hearts.

"Let's hope by the time we celebrate our 50th Birthday the oral health of people around the world will have improved considerably and we can all look forward to sharing our smiles in confidence."

This year National Smile Month was supported by some of the nation's best-known brands and retailers. Wrigley's Extra, Oral-B as platinum sponsors of the campaign, with further support from POLO® sugar-free and Philips Sonicare.

Dr Carter says: "Thank you to all of our sponsors for their role in supporting National Smile Month. With your help the campaign reached some of the biggest retailers in the country as well as many local communities. With your support we are not only able to promote good oral health within National Smile Month but hopefully continue to influence all year round for many years to come."

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