Flag EFP

23 March 2024

#GumsRock: deep dive into Gum Health Day 2024 with Mia Rakić

Categories:Communication, Gum Health Day

#GumsRock: deep dive into Gum Health Day 2024 with Mia Rakić

Mia Rakić, EFP co-ordinator for Gum Health Day 2024 answered our questions on this year’s activities and aspirations. Gum Health Day will be held on 12 May 2024, but we can start promoting the key messages about oral health from today!

The EFP campaign builder is already online to help create posters, flyers and social media posts.

Mia, can you explain the significance of Gum Health Day and why it's important for EFP members to participate?

Mia:Gum Health Day is pivotal in raising awareness about the vital importance of oral hygiene for healthy gums, as well as the crucial link between gum health and systemic conditions (diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, erectile dysfunction and even cancers). Despite past efforts, there's still a huge lack of awareness, especially among the young, so we need to use all available tools and means to promote oral health, to create a critical mass.

EFP members, being in direct contact with patients, play a vital role in spreading this essential message. Everyone needs to be recruited, not only EFP members! We need all health professionals involved, as well as media, teachers, policy makers, and of course, patients!

How was this year’s motto chosen?

Mia: The 2024 motto, "Gum’s rock! Keep them safe!" was crafted by the committee to resonate particularly with our target this year: the younger generation, specifically Gen Z. With visuals and messaging tailored to them, and the incorporation of platforms like TikTok for the first time (@yourgums), we aim to address the rising challenges teenagers and young adults face concerning gum health.

Prevention is vital. If we reach younger people, we can hopefully educate them before damage is done to their gums, and they can help us spread awareness further, to the generations after them. We believe that if you know about it, you can prevent it.

How has this day impacted global gum health awareness in past years?

Mia: Over the years, Gum Health Day has been instrumental in spreading awareness about the significance of gum health. Despite progress, there's still much to do, especially in prevention. The focus remains on universal education about dental hygiene practices, the need to visit oral health professionals regularly and the avoidance of habits detrimental to gum health such as sugar consumption and smoking. As I said: if you know about it, you can prevent it.

What are the primary goals for this year's event?

Mia: This year, our goals include reaching the younger demographic through engaging visuals and new channels like TikTok. With a blend of education and entertainment (“edutainement”), our aim is to empower individuals with the knowledge needed to protect their gums, fostering a healthier society. We would also like to reach lay media in every country, so our key messages are relayed to as many people as possible, globally.

We will have a wide range of assets and we aim to have more motion following new trends: original animations and videos, as well as other crispy, original visuals and infographics explaining prevention and gum disease.  We have involved young colleagues in creating our assets for 2024.

Our message remains the same: by taking care of our gums, we can easily start preventing all sorts of health problems right away. A healthy smile can pave the way to a healthier lifestyle and save money in the future.

What activities or events are planned for 2024?

Mia: In 2024, activities include dissemination of educational materials through many channels including podcasts, social media campaigns, lay media and engagement with EFP partners. Additionally, member society activities aim to amplify the campaign's impact.

How can dental professionals get involved in these activities, both locally and internationally?

Mia: Dental professionals can contribute by integrating oral health education into their practice, encouraging regular check-ups, promoting healthy snacking habits and good oral hygiene, providing helpful resources (the EFP offers many on the website), referring patients to other healthcare professionals if needed, and leading by example. Their involvement is crucial in spreading awareness and fostering healthier oral hygiene practices.

Professionals can use the Gum Health Day Campaign Builder tool to create posters, flyers, and social media content tailored to Gum Health Day 2024, as well as the Instagram filter and new infographics. These resources facilitate the dissemination of key messages and are prepared by communication experts to help engage audiences effectively.

How can dental professionals effectively use social media to promote Gum Health Day and raise awareness?

Mia: Dental professionals can leverage social media platforms using the Campaign Builder on the EFP website, and by using hashtags like #GumsRock and #GumHealthDay. These hashtags help consolidate efforts and grow the visibility of Gum Health Day initiatives across social media platforms.

By sharing informative content, interacting with EFP content, and engaging with their followers, oral health professionals can amplify the reach of Gum Health Day initiatives.

Looking ahead, how do you see Gum Health Day evolving in the next few years?

In the coming years, Gum Health Day will embrace new channels and witness increased participation from members. National society involvement is crucial to the success of this campaign. Continuous learning from our successes and addressing awareness gaps will be pivotal in evolving the initiative further.

What long-term impacts do you hope to achieve through this initiative?

Mia: Ultimately, the goal is universal awareness of the importance of gum health and adopting healthy oral hygiene habits worldwide. By fostering a culture of preventive care, we aim to reduce the prevalence of gum diseases and promote overall well-being.

More information on Gum Health Day 2024

Campaign Builder 2024

EFP resources for patients