National Smile Month historical facts

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The National Smile Month campaign is part of the British Dental Health association’s plan to educate people on the important of Oral health.Here are some interesting historical facts that you should be aware of this National Smile Month.

  • Did you know that in 1977, just one in three of us had none of our natural teeth; the ‘Smile 77’ project was introduced. Its purpose was to break down communication barriers that previously existed between the dentist and their patients.
  • ‘Smile 77’ looked at patient motivation, psychological factors of visiting the dentist.
  • The week-long ‘Smile 77’ project was best known for the poet Pam Ayres specially writing ‘Oh, I Wish I’d Looked after Me Teeth’ for the event.
  • The poem was later voted into the top 10 of a BBC poll to find the Nation’s 100 Favourite Poems. ‘Smile 77’ was repeated the following year in 1978, until the National Smile Week was first held in 1979.
  • National Smile Week continued forging partnerships with dental professionals, making significant progress in the way day-to-day oral health routines were communicated. This continued at a regional level until the 1984 campaign, under the ‘Eat Well Stay Biting Fit’ theme. The campaign held a launch event at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, with two healthy food buses touring the city throughout the week, teaching children the art of sugar-free cooking and giving tasters to 2,000 hungry pupils. This event, alongside with others throughout the UK, attracted £3.5 million worth of press coverage.
  • National Smile Week became National Smile Month in 2006, running through the months of May and June. With the aim to improve public awareness in oral and systemic health, the British Dental Health Foundation arrived at three key messages they continue to replicate throughout every campaign, they are:

Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste

Visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend

Cut down on the frequency of sugary foods and drinks.


  • In 2009, the National Smile Month campaign ran in both the UK and USA for the first time. The British Dental Health Foundation partnered Oral Health America in promoting good oral healthcare.
  • Smile Month was then created in Ireland in 2010, and this year took takes place in the United Arab Emirates for the first time.
  • 3,000 organisations take part in the campaign every year, all of who share our passion for improving oral health and well-being.
  • In 2013, National Smile Month messages reached an astonishing 80 million people.