Guide, Part 1: Argentina to France
“This year, Gum Health Day has been exceptionally challenged due to Covid-19, as no physical actions could be executed. Nevertheless, the national perio societies adapted excellently to the situation and we once again managed to have a successful Gum Health Day and our message “Say NO to bleeding gums” reached a very wide audience all over the globe.”
That was the verdict of Andreas Stavropoulos, the EFP’s co-ordinator of Gum Health Day 2020 on the activities carried out by societies of periodontology all around the world to celebrate the annual periodontal-health awareness day.
Many planned activities in public places had to be abandoned or postponed as a result of the lockdowns and other restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, thanks to innovation and a skilful use of webinars and social media, the EFP and its affiliated societies – joined by other societies and institutions – were able to deliver the message about bleeding gums to a wide audience.
The EFP worked with its member societies to create a series of 31 short videos. The federation invited the societies to shoot some homemade footage of their national Gum Health Day 2020 co-ordinator or another spokesperson saying a couple of sentences in their own languages. The EFP then edited that footage, added the official Gum Health Day 2020 introduction and exit sequences, and some comments from Andreas Stavropoulos in English. The videos were then provided to the national societies so that they could use them in their campaigns. These videos can be seen on the EFP’s YouTube channel.
From Norway in the north to Australia in the south, from Chile in the west to Bangladesh in the east, videos, graphics, infographics, and other information were distributed to explain how bleeding gums can be the first sign of periodontal disease and represent a call to take prompt action.
“The success of the Gum Health Day initiative is based on the enthusiasm and hard work of the national and affiliated societies, and the rest of the supporters,” noted Prof Stavropoulos. “The EFP only provides the material, but the societies put in the energy and work to make it all happen.”
The EFP offers a three-part guide to activities carried out for Gum Health Day 2020 by its members and by other societies and institutions: (1) Argentina – France; (2) Germany – Mexico; and (3) Moldova –United Kingdom.
Part 1: Argentina - France
Argentina: The Argentinian Society of Periodontology (SAP) decided that its main aim this year was to reach a large number of people with Gum Health Day messages and its efforts were concentrated on social media.
The society made nine short videos for distribution on Facebook and Instagram. With one of these, explaining the correct use of toothbrushes and interdental hygiene tools, the society asked a local social-media celebrity to repost it to encourage more people watch the video on the society’s Instagram page (@sap.periodoncia).
Universities all over the country, as well as young dentists at public hospitals, collaborated with the awareness day by making and sharing videos and flyers about gum health and dental hygiene.
“We are really happy with the results and the collaboration of all our colleagues from universities and hospitals,” said Claudia Bevilacqua, SAP president.
Australia: The Australian Society of Periodontology reached more than 2,000 people with messages about Gum Health Day via Facebook and Instagram. The most popular videos were those featuring Andreas Stavropoulos and the society’s president Ivan Darby, while the most popular post was the one about the infographic Gum Disease: Discover where it hits.
Bangladesh: An article “Gum Health Day 2020 and periodontal disease” written by Anam Ahmed, a founder member of the University Dental College Graduates Society, was published in Bengali in Dental Times. And Dr Ahmed also created a Bengali version of one of the EFP videos and a special #GumHealthDay frame, with various Gum Health Day messages, to add to Facebook profile pictures.
Belgium: The Belgian Society of Periodontology released two videos to mark Gum Health Day, in the country’s two languages of French and Dutch. It also held webinars and ran a social-media campaign, as well as issuing a press release.
Brazil: The Brazilian Society of Periodontology distributed its own and EFP-produced graphics for Gum Health Day 2020 via its website and Instagram page, which it also used to provide additional information about the awareness day.
For the fourth successive year, the Federal University of Paraná in southern Brazil participated in Gum Health Day and it reported that it “had never seen such a huge engagement.”
Joao Paulo Steffens, an adjunct professor in the university’s stomatology department, said that the main challenge this year had been to keep students “engaged and committed” to the Gum Health Day 2020 campaign, which was conducted online. He said that this had been achieved by using games (such as bingo-style cards) and challenges through which information was shared with the public, in “did you know?” graphics and short videos.
The main event organised by the university was an international seminar “Hypertension and periodontitis”, featuring Dr Eva Muñoz-Aguilera and Dr Francesco D’Aiuto from the Eastman Dental Institute at University College London in the UK. About 100 dental students and professionals from the UFPR and another 20 Brazilian higher-education institutes registered for this event.
Chile: The Chilean Society of Periodontology held a Gum Health Week, based around the EFP’s Gum Health Day. Faced with the challenge of Covid-19 confinement and concern, the society said that “we did not want to give in to adversity and we decided to continue with all our plans for this year, changing only the channels of execution.·
The society worked closely with universities to deliver the week’s events with online activities that started with an opening ceremony on 11 May via the Zoom videoconferencing application and continued to 15 May with other online events that covered gum health in relation to diabetes, smoking, pregnancy, and self-care. All activities were grouped together with the hashtag #cuiodomisenciasencas [I look after my gums at home].
Croatia: Focusing on online activities, the Croatian Society of Periodontology involved dental students at universities in Split and Zagreb. The student magazine DentiST at the School of Dental Medicine in Split published an article about Gum Health Day on its website, while a public-health initiative of students at the dental school in Zagreb reported on the 12 May awareness day on its Facebook page.
Dr Larisa Musić, the society’s webmaster and co-ordinator of Gum Health Day 2020, held a Zoom lecture with students of periodontology in Zagreb, focusing on periodontal symptomology and gingival bleeding in particular.
The television show Zdravi bili dedicated a programme to periodontal health and Gum Health Day, with the Croatian society’s EFP delegate Marija Roguljić as the invited speaker.
In addition, the society dedicated a section of its website to Gum Health Day, informed its members via a newsletter that highlighted the Instagram Live session with Andreas Stavropoulos, and the infographics on “Say NO to bleeding gums” that had been translated into Croatian. The society was also active on social media in spreading the message of Gum Health Day 2020, including 24 separate posts on Facebook.
Denmark: The Danish Society of Periodontology created a giveaway event, where it offered two electric toothbrushes (provided by a sponsor) to people who commented on a Facebook post on Gum Health Day. The society said it used “a rather informal language, since this seems to be a nice way to reach out to people more directly.”
The society also distributed the EFP videos for Gum Health Day on its own Facebook page and in private Facebook groups for dentists and dental hygienists. The posts in the private groups were aimed at raising awareness and encouraging practitioners to share the Gum Health Day message with their patients and via social media.
The society decided to invest a small amount of money to extend the reach of its social-media posts beyond the 200 followers that it has on Facebook. It also shared the Instagram Live session with Andreas Stavropoulos via its Facebook page
Dominican Republic: The Dominican Society of Periodontology and Dental Implants held a Zoom videoconference on the impact of periodontal therapy on systemic health, which incorporated EFP material for Gum Health Day 2020. It also shared an EFP video about bleeding gums and was active in posting about the awareness day on Facebook and Instagram.
Ecuador: The Ecuadorian Society of Periodontology and Osteointegration organised a Zoom meeting and other activities during a week-long celebration of gum health, including an online classroom on 12 May where topics covered were the relationship between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s Disease, a guide to clinical practice in periodontology and “what microbiology teaches us about relationship between oral and general health.” On the same day, the society’s director Enrique Javer gave an Instagram Live presentation on looking after gums.
Finland: The Finnish Society of Periodontology created its own video for Gum Health Day 2020 and encouraged its members to sign the EFP Manifesto and to post their own photos and videos related to the awareness day. Society member Mervi Gürsoy gave an interview about the message "Say NO to bleeding gums" to a health magazine. Unfortunately, the society's spring seminar, which was related to Gum Health Day 2020, had to be cancelled.
France: The French Society of Periodontology and Oral Implantology created a video in which members of its board answered questions about gum diseases and Gum Health Day and there were also eight “flash” videos from its regional societies.
As well as distributing EFP-produced videos, the society translated around 15 graphics into French and distributed them on a dedicated Gum Health Day 2020 page on its website, via its social-media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram), and made them available for its regional societies to use.
Society members were informed about the awareness day view emails and newsletters and the society published an article on Gum Health Day in the April issue of its magazine Objectif Paro.