National Smile Month

Between 17 May and 17 June 2021, the Oral Health Foundation will be raising awareness of important health issues and ready to put a smile on everybody's face.

We want you to join us and make a positive difference to the oral health of millions of people.

Pledge your support Take part

Out with the old and in with the new: how cleansing your cupboard can improve oral health.

We’re all guilty of buying the occasional sugary snack or sweet treat but very few of us know just how much of our food cupboard is jam-packed with ingredients which are damaging our oral health.

That is why for National Smile Month this year we’re challenging everyone to cleanse their cupboards of anything that might be   harming your teeth and replacing it with a tooth-friendly alternative.

How well do you know your sugars?

Do you know we are all eating too much sugar?  Children eat more than twice the recommended amount of free sugar.  For 4-6 year olds the recommended amount is no more than 5 cubes a day, for 7-10 year old 6 cubes and over 11 less than 7 cubes.

But how do we spot the sugars in our food and drinks and learn how to avoid them.

Free sugars are the easiest for us to avoid but how can we spot them on the list of ingredients?  The sugar we all think of which we might take in our tea or coffee is sucrose but sugars are added in many other forms and can be listed as maltose, dextrose, fructose etc.  Various syrups are also added to give a sweet taste and all of these can help to cause tooth decay.

Have a look at this infographic from the British Heart Foundation and find out where your cupboard might have unsuspected sugars hiding.

Find out more about sugar and your health from the British Heart Foundation

How well do you know your cupboard?

Have a look at the table below and see how many items you have in your cupboard from each list.

Good foods:

  • Dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt
    The calcium content will help your teeth and bones
    Contains beneficial bacteria
    Be careful to check the labels as low fat yoghurt usually has sugar added to it

  • Nuts and other lean proteins  
    Almonds have a high calcium and protein content and low sugar content
    Protein helps keep gums healthy

  • Apples (as part of a meal)
    Provides the body with fibre

  • Carrots and celery
    They’re both full of fibre, vitamin C and vitamin A

  • Tea
    Tea leaves contain natural fluoride which helps strengthen tooth enamel 

  • Bread Sticks
    have a neutral pH and no added sugar.

  • Rice Cakes
    have a neutral pH and most have no added sugar (but make sure to check the label)

Not so good foods:

  • Foods with added sugar
    Including but not limited to fruit juices, jams, sweets, biscuits, jars of pasta sauce, condiments and granola

  • Alcoholic drinks
    Lots of alcoholic drinks are loaded with sugar

  • Soft fizzy drinks one can of cola has 10.6g of sugar per 100ml – or almost 8 teaspoons per can . This is one more than the NHS recommend you have in an entire day!
  • Smoothies
    These are also packed with added sugars

  • Breakfast cereals

  • Honey

  • Syrups

  • Canned foods such as baked beans
  • Ketchup and other premade condiments/sauces

Did you notice anything on this list that shocked you? You’re not the only one – so many of us overlook these things which could be damaging our teeth.

That’s why we’re here to help you cleanse your cupboard and make some positive changes for your oral health!

How to get involved

  • Choose whether you’re doing your cupboard cleanse on your own or as a family

  • Take a photo of your cupboard at the start of National Smile Month (17th May)

  • Post it on social media tagging the Oral Health Foundation (@dentalhealthorg on twitter and facebook and @oralhealthfoundation on Instagram) so we can share your progress and cheer you on! If you’re not on social media you can send us your photos and updates by emailing [email protected] and we will share your updates for you with your permission.

  • Whenever you make a swap in your cupboard let us know by sharing on social media and encourage your followers to do the same.

  • If you’re part of a slimming world or weight watchers group see how many other members you can get to join you on your cupboard cleanse too!

  • At the end of your smile month cupboard cleanse take a photo of the final product and see how many changes you can spot from when you started. Remember to share it with us – we’ll want to see how well you did!

We will be posting updates for our cupboard cleanse and sharing tips for easy swaps to make with you all month long on our Blogs and Vlogs pages and on social media so make sure to follow National Smile Month socials so you can be kept up to date with all the latest campaign content!

If you have any questions, then be sure to email us at [email protected]

We’re looking forward to cleansing our cupboards with you and saving our smiles!