Dental team takes Smileys to Africa

National Smile Month and Bridge2Aid (B2A) have joined forces to bring smiles to the people of Tanzania.

The B2A volunteer dental professionals – who use their skills to bring dental pain relief to rural communities in east Africa – are spreading the messages of the National Smile Month campaign, which is the run by independent dental health charity, the British Dental Health Foundation.

Now in its 36th year, National Smile Month is the UK's largest oral health campaign.

Taking take place between 20 May-20 June, its aim is to help improve oral health in the UK.

B2A has introduced the campaign, including the Smiley, to its patients in Tanzania, to help to educate them about the importance of oral health.

Using dental volunteers, B2A provides emergency dentistry training for health workers in east Africa.

Focusing on sustainability, and empowering local people to improve their own lives over the long term, it has trained over 180 local health workers in emergency dentistry since 2005, and now trains 60 health workers each year.

This training has not only directly treated tens of thousands of people but has extended access to emergency dentistry services to people living in rural areas.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: 'The vital work being carried out by Bridge2Aid highlights that the messages of National Smile Month are not only relevant in this country but all over the world.'

Mark Topley, chief executive of Bridge2Aid, said: 'We are passionate about being involved in the British Dental Health Foundation, National Smile Month campaign this year. As an organisation, we believe that paying attention to oral health is vital, and we want people in both the UK and east Africa to understand that they can take simple steps to protect their oral health.

'We also want to make people in the UK aware that for 70% of the world, access to the simple pain relieving services that we can take for granted is not available, and to encourage them to get involved in changing that.'

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