Live Mouth Smart on World Oral Health Day 2017

24 February 2017

The Middle-East has been one of my focal points during the past few weeks, with events in Aswan (Egypt), Dubai (United Arab Emirates). More recently, I was in Chicago, for the Leadership Meeting of the American Dental Association (ADA) and, crucially, a strategy workshop for the Executive Board.

But first, World Oral Health Day (WOHD) 2017! It is now less than one month away and we wish you success in planning and implementing your national and local events. To help you, you will find a variety of tools designed to widen the impact of your campaign. They include the ‘Live Mouth Smart’ toolkit, six posters to print or share online, the practical brochure ‘How to Live Mouth Smart: Your guide to good oral health’ and the Advocacy Toolkit ‘Live Mouth Smart: Your guide to oral health policies’.

They are all available in English, French and Spanish. Let us know about your plans for WOHD 2017 by uploading your advance information on your event to the interactive map on the WOHD website.

Nothing beats social media for national and global outreach so we encourage you to spread the ‘Live Mouth Smart’ campaign over Twitter and Facebook: a social media calendar with samples messages and a suggested timeline is available to assist you on the WOHD website. Also, you can ‘Like’ the FDI Facebook Page‘Follow’ FDI on Twitter @worldentalfed, and join the conversation by using the two main campaign hashtags: #LiveMouthSmart and #WOHD17.

Look out for a customized app to share your WOHD messages with family, friends and colleagues, an infographic and a video. And have an excellent World Oral Health Day 2017!

Leadership meeting

Visits to NDAs are a huge opportunity for the FDI President to update members on FDI performance, activities and developments. For second year in a row, I had the pleasure of reporting excellent results at the Leadership Meeting of the American Dental Association. Notably, our finances are healthy, our oral health advocacy is moving forward, the promised upgrade in communications is now a reality – and our key ongoing projects are backed by the necessary resources.

All three members of the Executive Committee were present in Chicago and we seized the opportunity to hold a day-long workshop to put together some preliminary ideas for the development of the FDI Strategic Plan Strategy 2018-2020. I’ll report further on this at a later date.

The ADA Leadership Meeting takes place in February every year alongside the midwinter meeting of ADA’s neighbour, the Chicago Dental Society, and is now a fixture on the FDI calendar. It is an important opportunity to get together with an FDI founder member – ADA itself was founded in 1859 – and discuss issues of mutual concern for the dental profession.

Disseminating the new definition of oral health

In Egypt, I addressed the Conference of the Aswan Dental Syndicate, a member of the Egyptian Dental Association and therefore a friend and colleague of FDI. It was a further opportunity for me to highlight important developments within FDI, notably the new FDI definition of oral health, which I have made a point of highlighting during every public address I have made since its adoption in September last year.

I told my audience in Aswan that dentists should remind people that oral health is an important part of general health - and that NDAs need to tell their government about the crucial role that oral health plays in the quality of life of the individual. It was also a pleasure for me to be able to publicly thank the dental community in Egypt for their active participation in FDI’s Continuing Education Programme and their efforts to develop an agenda covering a wide range of subjects.

I also highlighted the sustained active support of Egyptian dentists and dental students for World Oral Health Day, which, I was assured, will continue for the 2017 Live Mouth Smart campaign. I would like to thank my hosts in Egypt for the invitation to speak and spread the FDI message to a wider audience.

Hectic schedule in Dubai

My hectic schedule in Dubai included exchanges with representatives from the Ministry of Health, exploratory talks on developing partnerships with the Head of Dental Services of the UAE and later of Bahrain, FDI promotion with a dental body from Qatar with a view to future membership and even a visit to a local dental practice.

It was a great pleasure for me to share views with representatives from member dental associations from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan and the UAE as well as discuss the advantages of FDI membership with representatives from Kuwait, Mauritania and Oman. I also discussed FDI and its work with representatives from the Arab Dental Association with a view to their interest in becoming e member. Equally, I found time to promote FDI and its activities during interviews with local, regional and international media.

The AEEDC exhibition also provided an opportunity to explore current and future activities with FDI partners Planmeca and Philips. I had interesting talks with the Global Scientific Dental Alliance, who told me more about AEEDC's development objectives, which could provide opportunities for future partnerships in fields of mutual interest.

I was also pleased to meet our friends and colleagues from the ‘Ordre des Médecins Dentistes du Maroc’ (OMDM) – Moroccan Order of dentists) in Dubai, with whom I recorded a video interview to promote the First FDI Regional Dental Congress (Marrakesh, 27-29 April 2017) among the dental community in Morocco.

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