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National Smile Month: Love Your Smile

Organised by the Oral Health Foundation, a leading UK oral health charity, National Smile Month is the UK's biggest celebration of oral health.

Published: 13 May 2024

When Is National Smile Month?

Taking place between 13 May and 13 June, the theme for National Smile Month 2024 is “Love Your Smile.” The Oral Health Foundation encourages everyone to embrace the importance of good oral health and celebrate the power of a confident smile.

Various events and activities will occur across the UK, and schools, dental practices, businesses, and clubs are encouraged to participate, helping promote the importance of better oral hygiene. You and your family are encouraged to take part by visiting your nearest Clyde Munro dental practice.

History of National Smile Month

National Smile Month is a not-for-profit campaign to raise awareness about oral health. The campaign’s journey began in 1977 as “Smile ’77.” Back then, oral health in the UK faced significant challenges. Many people viewed dentures as an inevitable consequence of ageing, and communication between dental professionals and patients needed improvement.

National Smile Month, or National Smile Week as it was back then, aimed to bridge this gap and motivate the population to prioritise their oral health. The campaign’s success led to its expansion from a week-long event to a month-long celebration in 2006, reaching a wider audience and fostering a deeper focus on oral health education.

Why is National Smile Month Important?

Oral health is an essential part of overall well-being. Poor oral hygiene doesn’t just lead to tooth decay and gum disease but to broader systemic health issues like diabetes and heart disease.

National Smile Month highlights the connection between oral health and a healthy lifestyle. It empowers individuals and communities to take charge of their smiles and prioritise good dental hygiene practices.

How Does Better Oral Health Benefit Your Overall Health?

We all know a bright smile lights up a room, but the benefits of good oral health extend far beyond aesthetics. Emerging research reveals a strong connection between oral health and overall well-being. As the NHS reports, “A lesser-known fact is that poor oral health is associated with increasing your risk of developing other serious health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.”

Here’s how taking care of your smile can positively impact your health:

  • Chronic Disease Management: Poor oral health, particularly gum disease (periodontitis), has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
  • Reduced Risk of Pregnancy Complications: Several studies suggest a link between untreated gum disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
  • Respiratory Health: Poor oral hygiene can contribute to respiratory infections like pneumonia. Bacteria in the mouth can enter the lungs through aspiration (inhalation) or the bloodstream, potentially leading to complications.

Brush Up On Your Daily Teeth Brushing Routine

This month-long campaign provides a fantastic opportunity to focus on oral health, reminding us of the importance of a daily routine.

  • Brushing: Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste. Ideally, once every evening and at least once more throughout the day. Try not to rinse; simply spit out an excess toothpaste, as a final rinse will only remove the concentrated fluoride from your teeth.
  • Flossing: Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth. If you find traditional floss threads cumbersome, try dental floss picks, floss tape, interdental brushes or a water flosser.
  • Mouthwash: Not only is mouthwash great for keeping your breath fresh, but one with added fluoride helps fight decay. It is best to use mouthwash after lunch or a snack, never as part of your teeth cleaning routine, as, much like a final rinse, it will simply wash away the concentrated fluoride you’ve just applied to whilst brushing.

Beyond The Toothbrush

A well-established daily routine of cleaning your teeth is only part of maintaining better oral health. Poor habits will always compromise your hard work.

  • Smoking: According to the NHS, two-thirds of mouth cancer are linked to smoking. The nicotine and tar found in cigarettes can stain your teeth, and the harsh chemicals lead to bad breath. Gum disease can also be a nasty side effect as a result of the increased bacteria smoking can cause.
  • Alcohol: Too much alcohol isn’t just bad for your overall health; it can also have a detrimental impact on your oral health, much like smoking. Excessive alcohol can also lead to increased risks of mouth cancers. While mixing alcohol with fizzy drinks can increase acid levels in the mouth, leading to enamel erosion.
  • Healthy Diet: Limiting sugary foods and drinks, which contribute to tooth decay, is just one part of maintaining a healthy diet. Several foods can actively promote better oral health by helping increase saliva production or raising pH levels in the mouth. Ensure your diet includes a mix of cheese, yoghurt, leafy greens, apples, carrots, celery, and almonds.

Prevention or Pain

Brushing, flossing, and maintaining a healthy diet are crucial for a dazzling smile, but they’re not the whole story. Regular dental checkups, often recommended every six months, play a vital role in safeguarding oral health. Early intervention by a dentist, hygienist or dental therapist can prevent something minor from developing into something painful and far more costly to treat.  Here are our top five reasons to visit your dentist regularly.

  1. Early Detection: Dental checkups allow dentists to identify potential problems like cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer in their earliest stages. Early detection is vital for successful and less invasive treatment.
  2. Preventative Care: Regular checkups enable professional cleanings, which remove plaque and tartar buildup that brushing and flossing alone might miss, helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
  3. Personalised Advice: Dentists can assess your individual oral health needs and offer you personalised advice on brushing, flossing techniques, proper diet choices, and any necessary lifestyle modifications.
  4. Monitoring Oral Health: Consistent checkups allow your dentist to track changes in your oral health over time. This proactive approach helps maintain good oral health and helps to identify any developing issues promptly.
  5. Overall Health Benefits: Studies have shown a strong link between oral and overall health. Regular dental checkups can help identify health concerns like diabetes or heart disease based on oral health markers.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure and so much better than pain. Regular dental checkups are an investment in your oral health and overall well-being. By incorporating them into your routine, you’re taking a proactive step towards a healthy smile and a healthier you. Book an appointment  or register at your nearest Clyde Munro dental practice.

A Healthy Smile is a Happy Smile

National Smile Month reminds us that a healthy smile is more than just aesthetics; it’s a window to your overall well-being. You can keep your smile bright, healthy, and confident year-round by prioritising good oral hygiene practices and using resources like National Smile Month. Let’s make 2024 the year you love your smile.


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