This year’s World Oral Health Day (WOHD) is set to return on 20 March, and will be an extra special one, as it marks 10 years since the launch of the FDI World Dental Federation campaign.

Taking place on 20 March, WOHD is dedicated to raising global awareness on the prevention and control of oral diseases, by spreading messages about good oral hygiene practices to adults and children alike, and demonstrating the importance of optimal oral health in maintaining general health and wellbeing.

As the largest global awareness campaign focusing on oral health, WOHD also aims to raise the profile of oral health on the global health and development agenda by highlighting the social and economic impact of oral diseases.

Smart living

Each year, WOHD focuses on a specific theme and reaches out to the general public, oral health professionals and policymakers, who all have a role to play in helping reduce the burden of oral disease.

This year’s theme – ‘live mouth smart’ – aims to empower people to take control of their oral health – throughout life – so they can enjoy a healthy, functional mouth from childhood into old age.

It conveys the message that making smart decisions such as adopting good oral hygiene habits, avoiding risk factors and having regular dental check-ups, can help prevent oral diseases.

The imagery is positive and focuses on oral health as much more than a nice smile. It highlights how basic oral functions that are core to life – the ability to speak, smile and kiss, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey a world of emotions through facial expressions – are affected and how this relates to physiological, social and psychological wellbeing.

The campaign strives to make people understand the broader consequences of oral diseases and how poor oral health affects general health and wellbeing. It stresses the impact of oral diseases on various aspects of a person’s social life, which can lead to low self-esteem, diminished social interactions, poor school and work performance, lack of confidence, and meagre employment prospects.

Everyone – the general public, oral health professionals and policymakers – must work together to address the disease burden and take the necessary action so that populations can ‘live mouth smart’.

Saluting hard work

A truly global event, WOHD salutes the hard work of dental professionals and the dental industry to improve the state of oral health in the world.

The day would not be the success that it is without the commitment and dedication of people like you. The FDI relies on your actions as individuals, healthcare professionals and governmental decision makers – combined – to protect the oral health of families and communities.

 Celebrating WOHD 2017

There are a number of ways you can get involved and celebrate this year’s World Oral Health Day. To help, the FDI has developed a campaign toolkit, packed full of supporting campaign material and resources, including posters, an infographic and games, to help in the global fight against oral diseases.

New this year, you can be the star of your own WOHD campaign by personalising a poster or social media header with your photo.

If you’re taking to social media to shout about your involvement, remember to use the two hashtags: #LiveMouthSmart and #WOHD17.

For further information and to download the material, visit the World Oral Health Day website.