The Oral Health Foundation is an independent charity (not for profit) dedicated to improving oral health and wellbeing around the world. For more than 45 years we have continued to provide expert, independent and impartial advice on all aspects of oral health directly to those who need it most.

We work closely with governments, dental and health professionals, manufacturers, the dental trade, national and local agencies and the public, to achieve our mission of addressing the inequalities which exist in oral health, changing people's lives for the better.

Formed in 1971, the concept of preventive dentistry and the benefits which could ensue from it were then very new and being practiced by only a small proportion of the dental profession. The founding fathers of the Oral Health Foundation wished to see the preventive message that 'Teeth are for Life' spread as widely as possible, with the aim of improving the overall oral health of everyone.

Here are some of the major challenges we face:

  • To improve oral healthcare and promote practice in good oral hygiene.
  • To increase the awareness of mouth cancer and reduce mortality rates through early detection and the changing of lifestyle habits.
  • To see the addition of fluoride to drinking water.
  • To increase the number of people visiting a dentist on a regular basis.
  • To continue to be a successful independent supplier of oral health promotional material to the health community.

Our work to improve the state of the oral health and wellbeing includes:

Help and support

For over 20 years we have run a Dental Helpline from our head office in the UK. Our Dental Helpline is a truly charitable service and the crucial work by our experts continues to make a difference to public and professionals alike, proving an invaluable resource in educating the public on a range of dental and oral health related matters.

Our team has handled more than 350,000 enquiries to date, giving a wide range of people with varying needs, trusted advice and reassurance from all over the world.

Educational resources

As a charity, we provide high quality information and oral hygiene products to health professionals everywhere. We have over 7,000 customers from dental surgeries, health centres, hospitals and education centres, offering a range of more than 500 products which offer value and quality to professionals seeking oral health education and motivational materials for their patients and their local community.

Although most of our educational resources are used in the UK, our oral health products are increasing used overseas. Our patient information translated into nine other world languages and distributed throughout Europe and the Arabian peninsula. 

We also supply oral health materials for the Dental Defence Service, going to troops and service personnel all around the world. We send tens of thousands of much needed oral hygiene products every year to more than 30 countries including Germany, Cyprus and Iraq.

Campaigns and initiatives

We organise and run two annual campaigns in the UK, National Smile Month and Mouth Cancer Action Month, in addition to school-based programmes like Dental Buddy. We use these campaigns to spread public awareness of oral health issues via the press while encouraging the health profession to be more active in education and oral health promotion in their local communities.

These campaigns have also grown overseas. We have helped health bodies and organisations in Ireland, the United States of America and the Middle East, all conduct their very own National Smile Month. We have also assisted oral health associations in eastern Europe organise dedicated mouth cancer campaigns.  

Our membership to the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe also puts us in a key position to promote oral health and the cost-effective prevention of oral diseases in Europe. The group seeks a common European approach towards education, prevention and access to better oral health in Europe

Consumer confidence

For more than 25 years, we have helped the dental profession and members of the public make informed choices about which oral care products they buy. Our Approved Products Schemes gives us the opportunity to provide people with information, protection and education regarding which oral health products they buy, and ensures that the marketing claims made by manufacturers are trustworthy and backed up by scientific evidence.

We are proud that our Approved Products Scheme is now the largest of its type in the world, with more than 150 products spanning across more than 50 countries.

Changing our name

In April 2016, we changed our name from British Dental Health Foundation to Oral Health Foundation, to better represent our growing body of work globally. The new name also signalled the shift in terminology over the last few decades from 'dental health' to 'oral health' – a term which is far more all-encompassing and really highlights that the health of our mouth is about more than our teeth.