The impact of Gum Health Day 2019 has been felt across the world – not only in countries with an EFP-affiliated society of periodontology but in many other countries as well.
Within Europe, activities were held in Armenia, Latvia, and Moldova. In Latin America, Gum Health Day events were held in many countries, while there was also activity in Asia by a group of dentists in Bangladesh.
The events and media campaigns organised in these countries supplemented those of EFP-affiliated societies and helped extend the global reach of the May 12 awareness day.
Overall, Gum Health Day 2019 was celebrated in at least 47 countries in five continents (Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, and South America).
Armenia: The Armenian Periodontists Association staged its main event on May 12 in Charles Aznavour Square in the centre of Yerevan, informing the public about gum health, oral hygiene, and periodontal care. From May 13 to 18, a team of periodontists provided free check-ups.
Latvia: The Latvian Society of Periodontology ran free periodontal screenings for adults, provided by volunteer dentists in several cities, in the week leading up to Gum Health Day (May 7-11). On May 11, free periodontal screenings for adults and children were performed by periodontists, postgraduate students, and paediatric dentists at Stradiņš University in Riga.
Society president Una Stamere took part in a radio show dedicated to gum health and public lectures were given at Stradiņš University.
As well as issuing a press release, the society used its website and Facebook page to share the EFP’s Gum Health Day videos, animations, infographics, and banners, translated into Latvian.
Moldova: An open lecture dedicated to Gum Health Day 2019 – focusing on the impact of air pollutants on periodontal health – was held at the dental faculty of the Nicolae Testemițanu State University of Medicine and Pharmacy, in collaboration with the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Republic of Moldova’s ministry of agriculture, regional development, and environment.
The lecture highlighted the need to take action against air pollution at various levels: household, city, country, continent, and global.
The lecture sought to increase public awareness that gum health is closely connected to general health, wellbeing, and – as expressed by the slogan for Gum Health Day 2019 – a “beautiful smile”.
Gum Health Day 2019 was joined by societies of periodontology affiliated to the FIPP, which has 12 members (11 in Central and South America plus the Spanish Society of Periodontology and Osseointegration, SEPA).
Events organised by FIPP members included:
Chile: The Chilean Society of Periodontology, working with the dental faculty of the University of Chile (Santiago), distributed not only official Gum Health Day 2019 posters and flyers but also special ribbons – where the white and pink colours represented tooth and gums.
The society used its social networks on Facebook and Instagram to provide messages on gum health and held a competition for 15 oral-hygiene kits (provided by sponsors).
Activities were held by eight universities across the country. These included providing instruction in oral hygiene, stands in shopping malls and metro stations to distribute information on gum health, and interviews on television and radio and in the press.
Uruguay: The Uruguayan Society of Periodontology distributed commemorative badges and published posters on social networks.
Gum Health Day 2019 activities were also carried out by FIPP-affiliated societies in Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Participating societies distributed materials from the Gum Health Day 2019 toolkit and organised activities around the theme of “Healthy gums, beautiful smile.”
Also in Latin America, the Panamanian Society of Periodontology organised various activities during the week of May 13 to 17. There were talks to patients in the waiting rooms of various hospital departments and a lecture on periodontal diseases and their relationship to systemic diseases.
In Bangladesh, more than 75 members of the University Dental College Graduates Society (UDCGS) met to discuss the importance of Gum Health Day to prevent gum disease in Bangladesh. They also signed the EFP Manifesto on perio and general health.
An article on Gum Health Day by Anam Ahmed, a founder member of the UDCGS, was published in Dental Times BD.
“We are more than happy to see our new international member societies, as well as non-EFP societies, join the EFP’s initiation of the global Gum Health Day,” said Lior Shapira, EFP co-ordinator of Gum Health Day 2019. “We feel proud to be the leaders of this important activity. I am sure that Gum Health Day 2020 will be an even more global event than 2019.”