With springtime now in full flow, we have reached that point in the year where the nationwide oral health campaign, National Smile Month, is almost upon us.
Following on the back of last year’s Teeth4Life campaign, which turned out to be one of our most successful ever, we will continue to use the campaign to communicate with the profession and drive awareness to the public about the importance of improving or maintaining their oral health.
This year, from 15 May to 15 June, National Smile Month will go under the theme of the Smile Factor – a slogan that truly expresses the power of our smile, the way it can shape our lives, our relationships and careers.
The campaign itself, which runs for the 35th year, represents decades of hard work by the British Dental Health Foundation, that continues to work tirelessly to spread positive messages of oral health to the public, in a bid to increase their knowledge and understanding of the benefits a healthy mouth can bring.
The annual campaign launch is once again set for the House of Commons, taking place on 12 May and, as ever, it will be a superb way to kick-start the month.
I expect that many of the well-known figures in dentistry will yet again attend, from members from the trade press to those involved directly in the profession.
Representatives from our platinum sponsors – Oral-B, Wrigley and Listerine – are also set to be there while we shall also be joined by our first-time silver sponsor, Macleans – who we are very happy to welcome into the National Smile Month family.
The National Smile Month dental survey, which we carry out in the run-up to the campaign, has once again thrown up some great findings, providing the Foundation with an insight into some of the UK’s oral health habits and routines.
Some of this data has already provided our press team at the Foundation with numerous releases for the national press – stories ranging from ‘smiles topping attractiveness polls’, to ‘dentists being more scary than snakes’ – allowing the Foundation to put across its more serious messages on good oral hygiene and preventive dentistry.
We have also being had at work trying to reignite some of the fun into the campaign which is why we have created the first ever ‘dental place map’ – a map of the UK, which lists more than 40 towns, streets or parks with names associated with all things dental. There is Floss Street in London, Drill Lane in Canterbury, Toothill in Swindon and I’m sure there are many more.
A download of the map is on our www.smilemonth.org website and we would love the profession to get involved with this, add to the map, maybe even take a photo of yourself next to the place sign and send it into us.
It’s important for the image of dentistry that we can show the public a less serious side to our profession.
National Smile Month is an opportunity for everyone in the profession to join in and send serious messages to the public about how to improve oral health.
But it is also a chance to help change our image by engaging with the media and showing the public the fun side of the profession. Our new Happy the Hippo character is also a new addition for 2011 – it’s a great way for children and schools to get involved in the campaign with a range of free downloadable resources.
I would like to thank all those dental practices, schools, hospitals and other groups taking part in National Smile Month by organising their own events.
Organising events, no matter how big or small can often be tricky and that’s why we have invested into making things easier for you.
Register on our new forum at www.dentalhealth.org/forum and see what others are doing and share tips and advice on how to carry out a great event.
The shop now has a new campaign product range, giving you the very best resources for you to carry out a spectacular event while the very first National Smile Month newsletter, released in the coming week will allow you to be kept up-to-date of all the latest news and events.
The Smile Factor wants to put the smile back on people’s faces.
To keep the campaign running and growing for 35 years is a fantastic milestone, but we don’t want to stop there.
Together, let’s help make National Smile Month the most successful campaign yet.