Love your smile: National Smile Month 2024 campaign poster showing woman making a heart shape and dates of campaign

4 Ways to Love Your Smile

(National Smile Month 2024)

“Love Your Smile” is this year’s theme for National Smile Month 2024, so here’s a little bit about what National Smile Month is and 4 ways to love your smile. Four easy things you can do to make sure you love your smile.

What is National Smile Month?

National Smile Month is the UK’s biggest campaign for championing good oral health and promoting the benefits of a healthy smile. At Coatbridge Family Dental Care we support National Smile Month every year. 

The campaign originally began way back in 1977, as a week long event called ‘Smile ‘77’, according to this article. At that time, dental health was very poor, with limited access to information about oral health and the impact of diet on teeth. For many people, keeping their teeth in a glass by the side of the bed at night was an expected part of everyday life.  

The original ‘Smile ‘77’ aimed to encourage preventative dentistry, just like we do today. It wanted dentists and patients to work together to prevent dental disease and develop routines for good oral health.  

Dentures in a glass of water<br />

Renamed National Smile Week in 1979, the campaign developed over the next 27 years, until in 2006, it became a month long event: National Smile Month.  

National Smile Month: changes over the years

Marketing of the campaign has certainly changed over its lifetime. The first campaign was celebrated with a poem written by one of the UK’s favourite poets and comedians, Pam Ayres. “Oh I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth” is definitely worth a watch below! You can decide yourself whether you agree with it’s position in the top 10 of a BBC poll to find the best 100 comic poems in 1989.  

Bride smiling after Invisalign

Nowadays, the ways we use to spread the word about oral health has definitely changed. We’re much more likely to use the internet and social media as a tool to raise awareness for National Smile Month.

Dental health has changed over the last 48 years too – perhaps testament to the work of the campaign. Indeed, a bride is more likely to ask for Invisalign to straighten her teeth in time for her wedding nowadays. Gone are the days where women had all her teeth extracted and a set of falters made for a wedding present (thankfully!) Soup for the wedding breakfast anyone?!

But despite many improvements, inequalities continue to be a burden for countless people. We find ourselves in a society where there are huge gaps between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. Access to dental healthcare is becoming more difficult due to lack of funding and recruitment issues. And we are exposed to a food ecosystem dominated by cheap, heavily marketed ultra-processed and high-sugar foods.  

Why it’s important to “Love Your Smile”

This year, the theme for National Smile Month is “Love Your Smile”.  

But why is it important to love your smile?

At Coatbridge Family Dental Care, we agree with the Oral Health Foundation that “A person’s oral health is a crucial part of their overall wellbeing.”  

A clean, healthy mouth and a smile that you are happy with, does wonders for your self-confidence and can really impact how you feel about yourself.  

Furthermore, we now know that poor dental health is closely associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, lung disease and dementia. That’s why, the messages of this year’s National Smile Month are just as important today as they were back in 1977.  

4 ways to love your smile

Here are the four key messages that can help you to “Love Your Smile”  

 

1.Brush your teeth

2.Clean with interdental brushes or floss

3.Cut down on how much and how often you have sugary foods and drinks

4.Visit a dentist regularly

4 ways to love your smile diagram<br />

1. Brush your teeth    

When?  

Last thing before bed and at one other time during the day.   

We always used to suggest brushing straight after breakfast. But nowadays it’s recommended you wait for at least half an hour after breakfast to brush. If there is acid in your mouth after breakfast, this dissolves tooth enamel. Brushing straight after breakfast means brushing away this tooth enamel.  

Manual or electric toothbrush?  

Manual toothbrushes, used correctly, are as good as electric. But are you confident you’re using it correctly? And are you a little bit lazy some days? Be honest with yourself, an electric brush might be a worthwhile investment.  

Also. as we get older, our manual dexterity may also not be what it once was – an electric toothbrush may help when this is the case.  

Which toothpaste?  

As long as your toothpaste has fluoride (check the label – you’re looking for at least 1450ppmF) you can buy any one.   

If you’re a bit unsure about how to brush your teeth effectively, watch Laura, our Hygienist Therapist show you how in this video. You can also ask us the next time you’re in.

2. Clean with interdental brushes or floss  

All of our teeth have five surfaces: front, back, 2 sides and top. When we brush we clean three of these, so what about the other two we are missing? This is why interdental cleaning is just as important as brushing. Find what works for you: dental floss, dental tape, interdental brushes, single tufted brush – it doesn’t matter which you have, as long as you use it!  

Watch our “Learn to floss” video below.

 

3. Cut down on how much and how often you have sugary foods and drinks  

 

Why?

 

The bacteria that live on your teeth, LOVE sugar. When you eat something sugary, they have a party. They eat the sugar and poo out acid.   

This acid causes decay in your teeth. When you stop eating, the saliva in your mouth has an opportunity to try to repair the damage. If you eat sugar regularly and never give the saliva a chance to do its job, then the damage can’t be repaired. That’s when you start to get holes in your teeth.   

The more sugar and the more often you have it, the worse the damage to your teeth.  

And don’t just think about the obvious sugars like sugar in your tea or sweeties. Look for words like glucose and sucrose on labels. There are lots of things out there that you might think don’t have a lot of sugar in but do. Yoghurts, smoothies, breakfast cereals, microwave meals, pasta sauces and even dried fruit like raisins are ones to watch out for.  

bowl of chocolate cereal
yoghurt<br />
fruit smoothies<br />
raisins<br />

And remember, adults should have no more than 30g (6 teaspoons of sugar a day).  

Check out our blog “Tooth Decay: The Causes, Symptoms and How To Fix It” to find out more.  

4. Visit a dentist regularly  

When you visit your dentist for your dental health check, they will be able to tell you how regularly you should visit the dentist and hygienist. This will be dependant upon your risk of dental disease.   

Visiting your dentist regularly means that we can help you to prevent dental disease. We can help you to catch decay or gum disease early, before it starts to give you problems or cause pain.   

Many of our patients are part of our Coatbridge Family Dental Care Membership Plan. They find that paying a small amount monthly to cover their regular dental health checks and hygiene visits gives them accountability. This means that they come regularly and catch any problems early.  It also allows them to spread the cost of their preventative care.

I’m too nervous

We know that many people put off going to the dentist because they’re nervous or worried about what the dentist might think if they haven’t been for a while. We have many different options to help you if you are nervous and you’ll find our caring team always ready and willing to support you.  

We aren’t here to judge you and none of our team will. We are here to help, it’s never too late to get back on top of your dental health.  

You may find this blog How to Overcome a Fear of the Dentist or this website helpful if you are scared of going to the dentist.

 

Remember to love your smile

So, this National Smile Month, let’s focus on ourselves a little and follow these four key messages. Do what it takes so you can “Love Your Smile.”  

As the Oral Health Foundation say “Our smiles are one of our best assets. That’s why it makes sense to give it the best care possible.” 

Contact us for a FREE consultation at Coatbridge Family Dental Care and we can help you to love your smile. Call us on 01236 421103 or email us at info@coatbridgedentist.com

 

 

 

References:

https://www.dentalhealth.org/national-smile-month-2024

https://www.dentalhealth.org/

National Smile Month: a brief history

 

*All information and prices correct at time of publication. Please contact us at info@coatbridgedentist for uni-to-date information and pricing.