The aim of National Smile Month is is to promote the benefits of having good oral health and the value of a healthy smile. At its core, the purpose of National Smile Month is to encourage oral health professionals to engage with people in their communities and help them to achieve better oral health through education.
The Oral Health Foundation lists the following key messages to promote during National Smile Month:
- Brush teeth for two minutes, twice daily, with a fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between your teeth every day
- Cut down on how much and how often you consume sugary foods and drinks
- Visit a dentist regularly
While these messages are simple and are likely discussed with your patients every day, the idea is to use National Smile Month as a way of reaching people in your local community, both within and beyond your patient base. To that end, the 2022 theme for National Smile Month is “everyone deserves a healthy smile,” which is meant to bring attention to the inequalities within oral health.
The Oral Health Foundation is a charity based in the United Kingdom, but the goals of National Smile Month can be applied on a worldwide scale as oral health inequalities are prevalent in communities throughout the globe. Late last year, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) published Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges, which, among other things, describes how many people experience chronic oral health problems and lack access to care, despite advances in the understanding and treatment of oral diseases and conditions.
5 ways to get involved during National Smile Month
So, how can your dental practice get involved with National Smile Month? Here are five ideas to connect with members of your community:
1. Blog about National Smile Month
If your practice maintains a blog, National Smile Month is a good topic to cover while listing out the steps patients can take to maintain good oral health at home. Don’t have a blog? Click here to learn how to set up a blog and how to write captivating posts). If you practice is planning to do any community events to promote oral health during National Smile Month, your blog can be a good place to mention those efforts. Be sure to share your blog post with your patients via email and your social media pages.
2. Post fliers and resources around your office
Hanging a flier in each operatory or in the waiting area can be a simple way to show your patients your involvement with National Smile Month and to prompt conversations on oral health. Visit the National Smile Month resources page for downloadable fliers and digital assets for free.
3. Host a community event
The ultimate way to participate in National Smile Month is to get involved in your local community. Offer to speak at an area school or host a free webinar to discuss proper home oral hygiene routines. Host a day of free dental services for military veterans or first-time pediatric patients.
4. Take the day off to volunteer
Closing the office for a day and getting your entire staff to volunteer at a local charity can be a simple way to show your patients that you care about your community and can be a great opportunity to discuss the importance of oral health. Consider creating oral hygiene packs filled with free toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss and other necessities to pass out to those in need.
5. Visit the National Smile Month website for more ways to participate
The ‘take part’ section of the National Smile Month website has a few unique initiatives and activities you might consider doing at your own dental practice. Activities like ‘send a letter to the tooth fairy,’ ‘smiley selfies’ and the ‘smiley monster competition’ are all fun ways to spread the message of the importance of good oral health. View the full list of ideas here.
At Patterson, we’re committed to providing resources to organizations that increase access to oral health care and improve the communities we serve. We hope these ideas will get you thinking – and participating – in National Smile Month.
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