As the UK’s largest oral health campaign is finally underway, organisers the British Dental Health Foundation say it’s not too late to join in the fun
National Smile Month, which runs until 20 June, is the profession’s chance to educate the public on a subject survey data suggests they need to brush up on. Raising awareness of the importance of good oral health and organising events and activities, no matter how big or small, can be more than just fun and informative – it can help to raise the profile of your practice. Now that hygienists and therapists have direct access to patients, there has never been a better time to promote good oral health. National Smile Month is the perfect opportunity to do just this, and it’s not too late to get involved. Some of the very best ideas are the simplest. Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter discussed some of the reasons getting involved in National Smile Month can bring a smile to many faces. Dr Carter says: ‘National Smile Month is our opportunity to take oral health messages to as many different people as possible. The success of National Smile Month depends on thousands of individuals and organisations working together, and you can make a major difference.
‘Last year more than half of people who registered their details as part of the campaign were DCPs. The introduction of the smileys played an integral role in revitalising the look of National Smile Month, and we were delighted to see such variety in the events that took place.
‘The good news is the smileys are back for this year’s campaign. We encourage anyone still looking to take part to visit the website [http://www.nationalsmilemonth.org/], register your details and get started with your five free smileys. The campaign and resources guide gives you some inspiration if you’re struggling for event ideas. We have a number of free downloadable items including a press release template designed to make your job as easy as possible.’
Whether you have a whole month, a week, a day, an afternoon, an hour or just one minute, get involved, get smiling, and do something great for National Smile Month.
To give you a flavour of what can make a successful campaign, look no further than the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. They supported National Smile Month by running three events out in the community on a health bus. The Oral Health Promotion team and colleagues from Oxfordshire Salaried Primary Care Dental Service were talking to members of the public outside the bus, giving out oral health information and advice. A dentist from the service gave free oral health checks to members of the public on board the bus. Representatives from dental practices also attended, ready to offer NHS dental care at their surgeries to those looking for a dentist. The team gave away various National Smile Month resources including Smileys, stickers and sugar-free lollies. They also gave away other resources such as fuzzy bugs, toothbrushes, toothpaste samples, and health information leaflets. As part of the campaign, the team ran a joke competition from the health bus. The person with the best joke won a hamper of exciting oral health treats – including an electric toothbrush. Over the three health bus events, a total of 61 members of the public received free dental checks, and approximately 250 people received oral health information.
Pick and mix
• Open fun day
• Tooth bus on tour
• Smile on a stick event
• Oral health promotion week
• Coffee morning
• 5km charity run
• Summer fun day
• Oral health awareness evenings with Scouts and Beaver group
• Tooth Fairy day
• Oral health advice display
• ‘Play and Learn’ session
• Toothbrush exchange and brushathon
• Working with local children’s centres
• Events at shopping centres
• Charity raffle
• On-going dental health visits to local primary schools.
To register for five free smileys or to get some last-minute resources to make your event a smiley success, please visit http://www.nationalsmilemonth.org/