Get mouthy with National Smile Month!
This month sees the start of National Smile Month (NSM) and, not surprisingly, we are huge fans of this high profile campaign that goes all out to promote oral health in communities across the UK. Running from 16th May to 16th June, this is a landmark year for NSM as it will be celebrating its 40th birthday and despite edging towards middle age, there’s plenty of life in this mouthy campaign yet.
Organised and run by the Oral Health Foundation, it is a fun filled feast of tooth friendly happenings designed to spread the dental health word and improve the nation’s gnashers. It unites dental and health professionals, schools, pharmacies, community groups, colleges and workplaces in a frenzy of healthy dental doings.
At the heart of the campaign lies a trio of positive dental messages (with which we wholeheartedly agree!):
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before you hit the sack)
- Cut down on the sweet stuff (that includes sugar laden fizzy drinks)
- Come and see us regularly (i.e. as often as we tell you to!)
NSM started way back in the seventies when it was known as National Smile Week and has continued to spread its dental health messages ever since. Ten years ago it was reborn as a bigger and better month long event and has continued to evolve with the times. Along with the rise of social media came the introduction of the ‘Smiley’- that red lipped grin on a stick that you hold up to your face to make you look super happy in photos.
NSM shouts about oral health because smiles are important, they’re a big part of who we are and often one of the first things people notice. Teeth also have an important functional role, helping us to chew food and speak clearly.
Oral health can also have an impact on your general well-being as gum disease has been linked to a number of serious conditions including diabetes, strokes, lung disease and heart disease.
NSM’s dental health boosting suggestions (Harpenden Smiles endorsed of course!)
As well as regularly brushing and visiting the dentist, here a few more of NSM’s top tips that you’d be wise to follow:
- Keep teeth clean in-between with floss, tape, sticks or special brushes
- Quit smoking – it contributes to staining, gum disease and mouth cancer
- Don’t forget to make friends with your helpful hygienist too
- Chew sugar-free gum after eating or drinking to minimise acid action
- Try to wait for around an hour after eating or drinking before you brush as tooth enamel will have softened slightly and could be susceptible to erosion.
- Round off a meal with a cube of cheese – it’s a yummy way to reduce acid attacks
NSM has a whole bunch of competitions, educational resources and events to communicate vital health messages and motivate people to take care of their teeth – so why not get involved and help raise awareness of an issue that’s rather close to our heart – we know we will be!
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