The FDI World Dental Federation (FDI) recognized its 2019 Smile Award winners at the ADA FDI World Dental Congress in San Francisco on September 3. Presented each year, the Smile Award salutes FDI member national dental associations that have developed sustainable, long-term projects to improve oral health around the world. This year, the Estonian Dental Association and the Palestinian Dental Association each received a Smile Award.
The Estonian Dental Association was honored for its Children’s Dental Health Project, which focuses on oral health education, prevention, and promotion among children and adults. In Estonia, oral health education continues to be a challenge, and oral health outcomes continue to be poor.
As part of the project, the “Clean Teeth” campaign provides a toothbrushing journal for kindergarten classrooms around the country, encouraging teachers to record each student’s toothbrushing habits each day. So far, the campaign has reached nearly 12,000 kindergartners.
Preliminary results indicate that the number of children brushing twice a day is increasing each month and that participating children are enjoying the project. Next year, the project will aim to train all kindergarten teachers in Estonia on oral health education so all kindergartners receive oral health lessons regularly.
The Palestinian Dental Association was saluted for its Dental-Point Project, which provides urgently needed oral healthcare to people living in the Moria migrant camp on Lesbos island in Greece. Conditions in the camp are notoriously miserable, FDI reports, and the Dental-Point Project’s clinic is the sole provider of dental treatment and other oral health services there.
In addition to emergency dental treatment, the clinic offers oral health education to demonstrate toothbrushing techniques and dietary advice, while showing children how to take care of their oral health, especially in such difficult living conditions.
The clinic also regularly distributes toothpaste and toothbrushes, and volunteer oral health professionals apply fluoride gel and silver diamine fluoride to patients’ teeth. The project aims to recruit more oral health professionals to ensure a continuity of care throughout the year.
The Smile Award is included within the scope of the Whole Mouth Health Project, which advocates globally to promote oral health literacy as an important element of everyday prevention. Launched by FDI in 2019 and supported by Colgate, Whole Mouth Health aims to empower practitioners to deliver personalized oral health education in a way so people can understand and apply to their daily lives.