Organised by the British Dental Health Foundation, National Smile Month is the UK’s largest and longest-running campaign to encourage people to look after their teeth and smile. It was introduced in 1977 as the ‘Smile 77’ project, when an incredible one in three people had none of their natural teeth! The project aimed to motivate people to visit their dentists and to educate them about good oral hygiene.
The launch was notably known for the poem written by Pam Ayres, ‘Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth’, which was voted into the top 10 of a BBC poll to find the nation’s 100 favourite poems. Smile 77 was repeated the following year, and National Smile Week was held in 1979. As a result of its popularity and success, National Smile Week became National Smile Month in 2006, running through the months of May and June. Looking after your teeth and smile This year National Smile Month runs from 18 May–18 June 2015, and its aim is to promote three key messages to encourage people to develop and maintain a healthy mouth:
• Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing at least 1450ppm fluoride, which helps protect teeth from cavities and makes teeth stronger
• Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks; it is best to keep these to meal times only. Chewing a sugar-free chewing gum containing xylitol for 20 minutes after a meal has been shown to help neutralise acids and reduce plaque
• Maintain regular check ups with your dentist and hygienist, who will schedule your appointments to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy.
For more information about National Smile Month, visit www.nationalsmilemonth.org
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