National Smile Month 2016

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On the 16th May 2016, National Smile Month launched with a bang. Now in its 40th year, the annual campaign, run by the Oral Health Foundation, aims to get people talking about oral health and encourage them to take steps towards better dental health.

About National Smile Month

National Smile Month will run until the 16th of June 2016. Over the next few weeks, dental organisations and practices will be doing their utmost to engage people in oral health issues and encourage the public to adopt good oral health habits. The campaign was first launched 40 years ago and has gone from strength to strength. Last year, thousands of practices got involved with events and activities and this year, organisers are hoping for an even bigger and better campaign.

The aim of the campaign is to promote key oral health messages in a bid to reduce the number of people affected by oral diseases, such as gum disease and decay. Although these conditions are preventable, thousands of people suffer from them every year in the UK.

The main messages of the campaign are:

  1. Visit your dentist for regular check-ups: going to the dentist on a regular basis decreases your chances of developing oral disease. Dentists can also provide you with valuable information and advice related to healthy eating, brushing and oral hygiene and giving up smoking. Check-ups only last a few minutes but they can make a massive difference to your oral health. During a routine check, your dentist will also look out for signs of oral cancer, so a simple check-up could turn out to be a lifesaver.
  1. Brush your teeth at night and at least once more during the day: brushing twice a day is essential for healthy teeth and gums. When you brush, use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your enamel. Replace your brush or brush head every three to four months and use gentle circular movements. Avoid brushing too hard, as this can damage your enamel. Set a timer on your phone or use a brush with an in-built timer to make sure you brush for the recommended two minutes each time.
  1. Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks: excessive sugar consumption is a major cause of dental decay in children and adults across the UK. When you eat, bacteria feed on sugars and this causes them to release acids. These strong acids weaken your enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. If you eat throughout the day, this means your teeth are under constant acid attack.

What’s going on during National Smile Month?

During National Smile Month, dental practices will be handing out informative leaflets and posters will be dotted around waiting rooms and community centres. Some practices may be offering incentives such as free dental checks or hosting activities and events to raise awareness of the campaign and enable people to find out more about oral health. Nurses and dentists may be setting up stalls in shopping centres or visiting local schools to talk to people about oral health and hand out dental kits. Schools, nurseries, pharmacies and health centres will also be participating in events.

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