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A dazzling smile can brighten the darkest day, and now there’s a whole month dedicated to it! National Smile Month is not only a celebration about smiling. Rather, it is a vital campaign that shines a spotlight on the importance of oral health and the power of a smile. It’s also a time when dental and health professionals, community groups, schools, and individuals can promote good oral health practices and spread happiness through the simple act of smiling.

History of National Smile Month

The origins of National Smile Month go back to 1977 in the West Midlands of the UK. Its founders? The British Dental Health Foundation (unsurprisingly!).  It was initially a week-long campaign known as “Smile 77.” Its aim was to build more public awareness about dental health at a time when preventative dentistry was not as widespread as it is now. The campaign quickly gained a massive following. By 1979, it had been renamed National Smile Week.

One of the most memorable moments of the early campaigns was the contribution of British poet Pam Ayres. She wrote a poem, entitled, “I Wish I’d Looked After My Teeth.” This poem both captured the essence of the campaign and became one of the nation’s favorites. In its lines, she illustrated the importance of proper dental care in a fresh, engaging way.

As the years went by, National Smile Month expanded its reach and scope. In 1984, the theme “Eat Well, Stay Biting Fit” gained the attention of the UK media. They created a huge buzz when they sent healthy food vans to drive throughout London to teach children about sugar-free cooking. This initiative highlighted the link between diet and oral health, a message that remains crucial to this day.

The campaign continued to enjoy explosive growth. By 2009, it reached an international audience, including the United States, with an estimated 180 million readers and viewers. By 2014, the United Arab Emirates joined the celebrations, calling it ‘UAE Smile Month.’ The growing movement demonstrated the global appeal of this important health observance.

A significant rebranding occurred in 2016 when the British Dental Health Foundation became the Oral Health Foundation. They implemented changes to reflect the broader goals of the organization, which continued to provide oral health information, education, and support worldwide.

How to Celebrate National Smile Month

Celebrating National Smile Month is about more than just flashing those pearly whites — although that’s a great place to start. Instead, it means taking immediate action to improve oral health, personally and for others.

Here are some ways to participate in the celebration of a healthy smile:

Brush Up on Oral Health

Use this month as a reminder to brush with fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before going to bed at night. It is also a much-needed reminder to replace any old toothbrushes – or toothbrush heads for electric brushes.

Visit Your Dentist

Regular dental check-ups are key when it comes to maintaining good oral health. Has it been a while since last visiting the dental clinic? Then it’s time to make an appointment during National Smile Month.

Educate and Engage

Parents, teachers, or health professionals: use this National Smile Month to educate children about the importance of good oral hygiene. Also, remind the adults, too! Organize workshops or fun activities that shine a light on the importance of dental care.

Spread Smiles

A smile is contagious! Share that stunning smile with friends, family, and even strangers. Never mind if they don’t know why you’re smiling. Post a smiling selfie on social media with oral health tips — inspire and encourage others to take care of their teeth and gums.

Support the Cause

Many organizations and dental practices participate in National Smile Month by hosting events or fundraising for oral health charities. Join in by attending these events or donating to the cause.

Promote Healthy Eating

Many people forget that what they eat plays a significant role in oral health. National Smile Month is a good time to brush up not only the teeth but on healthy eating habits. Encourage friends and family to eat foods that are beneficial for teeth. Think crunchy fruits and vegetables. Also remind them about reducing their intake of sugary snacks and drinks.

National Smile Month is not only about flashing those pearly whites at everyone. It is a reminder of the power we all hold within us to make a positive impact with a simple smile. By focusing on our oral health, we not only improve our well-being but also spread joy to those around us. So, this National Smile Month, let’s commit to better oral health practices and share smiles that will light up the whole world.

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