Webinars, group-recorded videos, quizes, and a "lock-down challenge" – some of the innnovative responses from national perio societies and others to delivering Gum Health Day 2020's message of "Say NO to bleeding gums" despite the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions. The third and final part of the EFP's guide to this year's activities.
Part 3: Moldova to United Kingdom
Moldova: Staff and students at the Nicolae Testemițanu State University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Chisinau, led by associate professor Tatiana Porosencova, worked together – recording clips in their homes – to create a video about gum health that was shared via social media.
The video explained what healthy gums look like, the signs and consequences of gum disease, the role of dental plaque in gingivitis, and other factors (such as pregnancy hormones, diabetes, smoking, and stress) that can provoke bleeding gums, together with the good news that gum disease can be prevented and treated.
Morocco: The Moroccan Society of Periodontology and Implantology held a webinar on 15 May, in which the Gum Health Day message of “Say NO to bleeding gums” was prominently displayed as part of a presentation by Prof Mohammed Himmiche on “periodontal health, key to general health.” The society also produced its own short video for Gum Health Day, which was distributed on its Facebook page, along with several EFP-provided videos.
Netherlands: The Dutch Society for Periodontology (NVvP) had planned as extensive campaign for Gum Health Day in the Netherlands, with public events and a media and social-media campaign.
But the society felt that “the theme of this campaign was not suitable in this time of the coronavirus.”
The NVvP traditionally celebrates Gum Health Day by inviting patients into periodontal practices for free gum check-ups and the provision of information and oral-health products. With dental offices across the country forced to close for some weeks because of Covid-19, the society said that it “did not want to charge the practices with more work in the context of Gum Health Day.”
While it cancelled all its plans around Gum Health Day, the society nonetheless distributed the EFP-produced material (videos and graphics) via its social-media pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Norway: The Norwegian Society of Periodontology provided information about Gum Health Day on its website and distributed EFP-produced videos and graphics, with the latter translated into Norwegian.
Poland: The Polish Society of Periodontology held a webinar on 8 May which focused on prevention and treatment, integral periodontology and cardiology.
Serbia: The Serbian Society of Periodontology made five Gum Health Day videos which it distributed on Facebook and Instagram, as well as sharing EFP video and graphic material related to “Say NO to bleeding gums.” The society sent an email to its members about the awareness day, inviting them to join the Instagram Live session with Andreas Stavropoulos on 12 May and to sign the EFP Manifesto on periodontal and general health.
Sweden: The Swedish Society of Periodontology provided EFP-produced videos and graphics on its Facebook page and also promoted Gum Health Day on its website, at its annual meeting, and through a regional healthcare website. It also promoted the Instagram Live session with EFP Gum Health Day 2020 co-ordinator Andreas Stavropoulos, a professor at Malmö University.
Turkey: The Turkish Society of Periodontology used its pages on Facebook and Instagram to disseminate EFP-produced videos and graphics for Gum Health Day 2020. In the run-up to the 12 May awareness day, the society’s Gum Health Day 2020 co-ordinator, Serhat Aslan, promoted the campaign during a series of webinars on reconstructive periodontal surgery, with a keynote slide and highlighting the importance of gum health.
Ukraine: The centrepiece of the actions organised by the Ukrainian Society of Periodontists for Gum Health Day 2020 was a webinar focusing on the new working conditions which periodontists face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On 12 May, society president Galyna Biloklytska gave a free webinar entitled “Protocol of examination and treatment of patients with periodontal disease. Possible risks of work for a dentist in modern conditions.” More than 600 dentists registered to participate in the webinar, which presented a detailed protocol for examining a patient with periodontal diseases with an emphasis on the new working conditions caused by the pandemic.
The presence of certain risks for the dentist when working in a COVID-19 pandemic was shown together with steps to help in their prevention with the use of personal protective equipment.
The webinar also presented an integrated approach to the treatment of periodontal diseases involving interdisciplinary co-operation between different specialisations. The need to analyse comorbidities in patients of different ages and the possibilities presented by genetic research to identify risk groups at a “pre-disease” stage and thereby prevent pathological processes in periodontal tissues were discussed.
In the run-up to Gum Health Day 2020, on April 21, the Ukrainian perio society held another webinar, in which its secretary general and EFP delegate Yulia Chumakova discussed the prevention of periodontal diseases in children and adults.
The society also used its Facebook page to organised a quiz dedicated to Gum Health Day and a contest for the best photograph or video on the importance of oral care at home during quarantine. A video clip featuring the Gum Health Day 2020 slogan of “Say NO to bleeding gums” was also recorded and published via social media.
United Kingdom: The British Society of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry (BSP) produced several of its own videos for Gum Health Day 2020 as well as sharing those from the EFP toolkit on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The society’s undergraduate representatives were particularly active, making a video and creating slides about the awareness day to share via social media.
Linking Gum Health Day to Covid-19 confinement, the BSP ran a “lockdown challenge”, inviting people to send in images and videos to show how to look after your teeth at home. “We received a fantastic response and re-shared posters, images, slides, videos, embroidery, painting etc. – all available to view on our social media channels,” said BSP executive general manager Paula Dunn.
The society had planned to hold about 20 events to promote Gum Health Day to the public and had produced banners and leaflets. The plans involved every dental school in the UK, supported both by the society’s undergraduate representatives and by a commercial partner, GSK. But, as a result of Covid-19, all these events have been postponed.
The BSP praised the “excellent” EFP resources and said that it had appreciated suggestions about how to promote the event despite the lockdown and that it was “extremely pleased with the engagement we had with dental professionals.”