Below is an open letter from Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter OBE

Over the last few weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live our lives.  Our social interactions are limited, the working day is different, as is the family dynamic at home.  The situation changes daily and speculation about relaxing isolation and social distancing seems all but a stab in the dark.

Of course, at present there is no alternative.

Coronavirus is the most devastating pandemic of the generation and could become the biggest global outbreak since Spanish Flu.  Staying at home and limited social contact to people in your house is vital.

As a charity we have had to change how we work. Our staff are working from home, including our team on the Dental Helpline, who are receiving an unprecedented number of calls from people who are unable to access dental care at this time.

We also had another hard decision to make about National Smile Month. The campaign runs in between 18 May and 18 June and is our biggest annual event to engage people about the benefits of good oral health. While we cannot know what lays ahead, it is highly unlikely the country will return to any sort of normality by then.

Traditionally, National Smile Month is all about community.  Whether it’s championing oral health in schools, workplaces, high streets or shopping centres. National Smile Month has given us a chance to connect with some of the most in-need and vulnerable people in the UK.

With safety and good health being of the upmost importance, we have decided to make some changes to how we are approaching this year’s National Smile Month.

Our charity, volunteers and thousands of supporters will be delivering oral health messages on digital platforms. In 2020, National Smile Month will be an entirely digital charity campaign.

We’re really proud to be running National Smile Month – especially at this time – where we believe a positive campaign, about the value of a smile, is needed now more than ever.  At the heart of the campaign is positivity and spreading the word about the importance of a healthy smile – this will never change.

We can’t do this alone. We need your help to spread these messages which means we still need you to be shouting about it on social media and getting involved in whatever way you can!

Keep your eyes peeled for our campaign website and social media for all the latest information about what events and activities we’ll be running during the campaign as well as great ideas on what digital activities and events you can run. Be sure to follow National Smile Month on social media; on Twitter (@SmileMonth) and Facebook (@NationalSmileMonth). Also make sure to follow the Oral Health Foundation if you haven’t already by searching @dentalhealthorg on Twitter and Facebook or simply ‘Oral Health Foundation’ on LinkedIn and Instagram.

We look forward to what National Smile Month has to offer and even more so to as many people as possible getting involved. Arguably, the messages of National Smile Month are more important than ever as positivity and health become so paramount in times like these. If you would like further information or have any questions then please contact our PR team by emailing [email protected] or by reaching out on our Facebook page.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and understanding, together we can give the nation the healthy smile it deserves.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Nigel Carter OBE