National Smile Month
is a dental health event held in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
, traditionally in May, but now annually throughout May and June. In 2012 the campaign will take place between May 20 and June 20. It is one of the biggest not-for-profit dental health events in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...
; it attracts thousands of event coordinators and reaches millions of people with oral health information. National Smile Month is run by the British Dental Health Foundation
The British Dental Health Foundation was formed in 1971 and is one of the World's leading independent oral health charities...
(BDHF), a UK-based charity.
Origin and early years
The event was launched in 1977, as a week-long campaign in the West Midlands. Poet Pam Ayres
Pam Ayres MBE is an English poet, songwriter and presenter of radio and television programmes. Her 1975 appearance on the television talent show Opportunity Knocks led to a variety of appearances on TV and radio shows, a one woman touring stage show and performing before the Queen.-Early life:Pam...
wrote the poem I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth
for the event – a poem that would later be voted into the top 10 of a BBC poll to find the Nation's 100 Favourite poems.
'Eat Well Stay Biting Fit' was the theme of the 1984 Smile Week with a launch at the London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...
Transport Museum in Covent Garden
Covent Garden is a district in London on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martin's Lane and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit and vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as...
, where around £3.5 million worth of press coverage was generated during the campaign. Two good-food buses toured London throughout the week, teaching children the art of sugar-free cooking and giving tasters to 2000 hungry pupils.
Chairman of the northern branch Gerry Dobbs, a general dental practitioner and long term member of the Foundation became Chairman in 1984 and presided over a period of high-profile PR activity.
This included the distribution of a 'Secret Identification File' containing information on many aspects of dental Identity's, distributed to 1,000 journalists. The 'Selecting a Dentist' leaflet, also produced as part of the Smile Week campaign, was one of the most successful ever and generated mass national newspaper coverage. It helped the Foundation turnover to surpass £100,000 for the first time in its history. The 1988 theme of 'Your Dentist Cares' produced over £1,000 worth of media coverage and notably featured a jingle written and performed for the Foundation by the group Fascinating Aida
Fascinating Aïda is a British comedy singing group and satirical cabaret act, which has retired twice, most recently in 2004. After the death in 2007 of the group's pianist and musical director, Russell Churney, all plans for a new show were shelved. Some of their most famous songs include...
. The campaign continued to hold a strong profile throughout the 1990s and to the present day.
New format and key messages
Due to its popularity, National Smile Week became National Smile Month in 2006, running through the months of May and June. With the aim to improve public awareness in oral and systemic health, the BDHF arrived at three key messages they would replicate during the annual campaigns, they were:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
- Cut down on the frequency of sugary foods and drinks.
In 2009 the National Smile Month campaign ran simultaneously in the UK and USA for the first time. The BDHF and its International Dental Health Foundation (IDHF) arm partnered Oral Health America in promoting good oral healthcare. The campaign was judged a success and was estimated to have reached 180,000,000 readers and viewers. The slogan for 2009 was ‘Brush for Health’ and aimed to establish the message of connecting poor oral health with other systemic illnesses.
For the first time, National Smile Month will take place in the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...
, proposed for the month of September in 2011.