National Smile Month

National Smile Month

National Smile Month takes place between May 19th and June 19th. Rather than explain it all, I’ll let the organisers tell you what the purpose is:

In a nutshell, National Smile Month is the UK’s largest and longest-running oral health campaign. Together with thousands of individuals and organisations, National Smile Month promotes three key messages, all of which go a long way in helping us develop and maintain a healthy mouth. They are:

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks
  • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.”

So, it’s all about promoting a healthy oral regime early in life, which is great. But, I’m not so sure I agree with the fluoride part as recent research shows that fluoride can actually harm the neurological development of kids – but that’s for another discussion. So you could have a day in class where the kids show each other how they clean their teeth. Maybe you could get them to bring in their toothbrushes and toothpaste and have a cleaning session together?

It might also be interesting to discuss the history of oral hygiene. For instance, the Japanese word for tooth brushing is Hamigaki and Japanese people are expected to clean their teeth after every meal, so that’s at least three times a day. More history on tooth brushing from around the world can be found here: The History of Teeth Cleaning

It might also be fun to talk about how people in other countries clean their teeth. After all, most people on this planet don’t have access to toothpaste, brushes or even clean water in some cases. People also use different ways to clean their teeth depending on their culture or religion. For example, Islam encourages the use of Miswak – a root that you chew the end of to use as a brush. I have personal experience of using this and like it very much.

Neem is used in much the same way, but not for religious purposes. In fact, there are many types of twigs that are used in this way all over the world today. These include sassafras, tea tree, cinnamon, olive, plus many others.

And, there are various groups of people, the Jains for example, who believe that you do not require anything other than your finger and some water to clean your teeth. There’s also a school of dental hygiene that believes that it’s the length of time and brushing technique used that’s important, rather than what’s on the brush.

And, let’s not forget the environmental impact of following the advice given by dentists, i.e. replacing your brush every three months, which adds up to a lot of landfill. Why not consider encouraging your kids to use natural toothbrushes, like these Bamboo toothbrushes. I can also vouch for these too, as I have been using them for at least a year and they are great. And, when I’m done, I just pop it in the garden recycling bin.

So, there’s plenty for you to chat about and lots of different tooth brushing techniques to have fun with. Enjoy!

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