Smile! It’s National Smile Month

cover of the book Alan's Big Scary Teeth

Posted on: 19 May 2020

Dental practices may be operating differently at the moment, as non-essential routine check-ups are postponed due to coronoavirus (COVID-19).

So parents of younger children are being asked to pay particular attention to their child’s teeth, to ensure that they continue to have good oral health hygiene.

Today signals the start of National Smile Month (18 May to 18 June), and Devon Public Health, Libraries Unlimited, Devon’s Childrens’ Centres and Action for Children are raising awareness of oral health hygiene in children and families, in conjunction with the Oral Health Foundation.

They are recommending:

  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Cut down on how much sugary food and drink you have and how often you have them.
  • When routine dental care starts again, visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Libraries Unlimited, which runs the County Council’s libraries, is offering children a free picture book, “Alan’s Big Scary Teeth” by Jarvis (subject to availability), to children who can show that they brush their teeth regularly for duration of National Smile Month. The book was the winner of the 2017 V&A Best Illustrated Book Award.

For more information and to enter the competition, please visit the Libraries Unlimited website

In addition, Devon Children’s Centres and Action for Children will also be promoting good oral health through their family sessions.

Photo of Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Health, said:

“Although we are in a time of disruption to routine dental services, it’s really important that parents keep on top of their children’s oral health.

“We’re celebrating National Smile Month, with our partners.  Establishing a good oral health routine sooner rather than later means that children are more likely to keep to these habits later on.  And happy, healthy smiles are beneficial for their general health and well-being too.”

To promote the National Smile Month campaign, the Oral Health Foundation has arranged a number of activities during the month.  They include

  • The Great Brushathon on Wednesday 3 June, will connect people from all around the country in one giant brushing event
  • Poems to smile to. The Oral Health Foundation invites you to send them a poem about what a smile means to you, you can email it or post on social media
  • The smiley singalong,  Choose a song that has ‘smile’ in the title, sing along and post a video to social media!
  • The Oral Health Foundation has free online children’s lessons and presentations for early years, KS1 and KS2 children as part of their oral health Dental Buddy programme

You can use a creative way to promote tooth brushing for the right amount of time using of one of the NHS approved apps—listen to your favourite music in the process!

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