Access to adequate oral healthcare remains uneven throughout the world. Many children, especially from low-and middle-income countries, suffer from untreated tooth decay.
Smile Around the World is an initiative to deliver oral health education and prevention programmes in resource-limited settings in partnership with member National Dental Associations.
With support from FDI industry partners, Smile Around the World raises oral health awareness in rural and urban communities through engaging and participatory educational programmes in schools.
Children are actively involved in the project through their own creative work, participating in crafting oral health messages and increasing their own understanding of oral health. A teacher‐training component helps to ensure the project’s long‐term sustainability.
Smile Around the World has six targeted messages for children to encourage good oral health habits:
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Use a toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and clean water.
- Eat your meal and don’t snack.
- Visit your dentist.
- Don’t suck your thumb.
- Mind your teeth.
- Keep away from tobacco and alcohol.
The initiative also urges parents to reinforce good oral health habits at home by:
- making sure their children brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste;
- gently brushing their infant’s teeth;
- giving their children healthy meals and limiting snacking;
- taking them for a dental check-up once a year;
- discouraging thumb-sucking;
- warning them about the risks of alcohol and tobacco use to the teeth.
2018 Implementation in China
In 2018, Smile Around the World was implemented in China by collaborating with the Chinese Stomatological Association (CSA) and in partnership with 3M Oral Care. The objectives of this implementation is to increase oral health knowledge and skills among schoolchildren and to improve teaching of oral disease prevention among school teachers and oral health professionals. The programme involved 3,614 children and 90 teachers in five elementary schools and one kindergarten in the provinces of Ningxia, Yunnan and Shaanxi: 1,114 children in Ningxia, 1,500 children in Yunnan, and 1,000 children in Shaanxi.