30 June 2015

Despite the curtain coming down on this year’s National Smile Month, it’s organiser’s the British Dental Health Foundation really have something to smile about, as the charity says the campaign has been the most successful to date.

The UK’s largest and longest running campaign to improve the nation’s oral health, National Smile Month 2015 generated unprecedented levels of support from the dental health community, schools and educators, as well as with the general public.

The campaign, which took place between May and June, had the backing of more than 4,000 organisations across the UK, all promoting 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.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, had to take a step back to reflect upon the sheer scale and success of this year’s campaign.

Dr Carter says: “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.

“I have seen the campaign grow year on year and it really takes me back at how far we have come and how the campaign has coincided with some of the major oral health improvements in the UK.

National-Smile-Month-2015-Collage“A lot of the credit really needs to go to the dental community who have helped us reach an estimated five million patients nationwide. They have taken it upon themselves to go out into their local communities to help educate on the importance of good oral hygiene. Alongside promotion within their practices this has been a highly effective way of spreading the messages.

“We have also seen the campaign being taken to the classroom this year with more than 500 schools helping an estimated 75,000 children learn about the importance of good oral health. These 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.”

One aspect which the charity has really seen make a profound difference this year, has been the appetite from people to engage with the campaign online through social media and taking their Smiley selfies. Posts with #MySmileySelfie have been used thousands of times to share pictures of people celebrating National Smile Month and everyone from dogs to dentists have taken part.

Volunteers have also put on more than 2,500 dedicated oral health events, many of which have taken place in local communities, targeting those who might not access primary dental care.

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

“These events, along with other National Smile Month activities have resulted in an excess of more than 600 articles in the press. It’s wonderful to see oral health being pushed up the media agenda, which recognises and elevates the importance of the messages we are trying to promote.

“One in four dental practices in the UK took part in National Smile Month this year, which is amazing, but next year I feel we can do so much more.

“Next year marks a key milestone for National Smile Month as it is the campaign’s 40th anniversary. I call for everyone to go the extra mile and do something special to celebrate and share the message.”

National Smile Month 2015 has been supported by some of the nation’s best-known brands and retailers. Wrigley’s Extra, Oral-B and Invisalign as platinum sponsors of the campaign have helped to take the campaign to the high street.

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 help 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.”