​The Foundling Museum in London set the stage for the momentous launch of National Smile Month 2024 on May 15.

Running under the theme of ‘Love Your Smile,’ National Smile Month aims to inspire people to prioritise oral health and wellbeing.

The campaign seeks to foster positive habits that promote healthier smiles and happier lives. The initiative encourages everyone to embrace their smile by taking proactive steps towards better oral health.

Speaking at the event, Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, emphasised the importance of the campaign as a vehicle to transform oral health habits.

Nigel said, “This is the 48th National Smile Month, making it one of the longest-running oral health campaigns in the world. But it’s more than just a few weeks of dental awareness – it’s a movement. Our aim is to promote good oral hygiene, raise awareness about the importance of healthy teeth and gums, and inspire positive habits that last a lifetime.

“A simple smile can have a profound impact. We know that people who maintain good oral health tend to have better overall health. And the ripple effect extends beyond individuals – healthy smiles contribute to stronger communities and a happier society. So, as we embark on this month-long journey, let’s remember that our smiles are not just expressions; they’re statements of wellbeing.”

Nigel Carter speaking at the launch.

Nigel went on to express gratitude to the event's sponsors, including Listerine, the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme (WOHP), Oral-B, Boots, EMS, and the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy.

The charity boss acknowledged their invaluable support in advancing oral health education initiatives. He highlighted the collaborative efforts of these organisations in driving positive change and fostering a culture of oral health awareness.

Georgios Tsakos, a professor of Dental Public Health at University College London and a trustee of the Oral Health Foundation, also shared his reflections on the charity’s mission and the importance of collective action in promoting good oral health.

Georgios urged attendees to consider becoming trustees, highlighting the transformative impact of their contributions and their critical role in guiding the charity’s strategic direction.

The event also featured speeches from Ben Atkins, speaking on behalf of the WOHP, and representatives from NHS Whittington Health Trust.

Ben highlighted key statistics from the WOHP’s latest Oral Health Index and stressed the need for preventive measures in oral health care, advocating for greater awareness and accessibility to dental services.

The NHS Whittington Health Trust closed the event by sharing how they use National Smile Month as a driving force for initiatives aimed at community engagement, with a strong emphasis on promoting oral health education and awareness. A recent toothbrushing event they organised was a testament to their efforts, successfully reaching around 900 local children.

National Smile Month 2024, which is supported by thousands of organisations from various sectors such as dentistry, health, education, and nutrition, will run until 13 June.

Nigel added, “In closing, let me say this: keep smiling, let’s keep working together to improve oral health, and let’s make National Smile Month 2024 a resounding success”.

For more information visit www.smilemonth.org