Today (Friday, October 5) is World Smile Day, an annual event devoted to smiles and acts of kindness that provides an opportunity to focus on the importance of gum health to people’s smiles.
The damage caused by periodontal disease – such as receding gums, “long teeth”, tooth loss – can have a big impact on people’s smiles. Not only aesthetically, but also psychologically as it can lead to a loss of self-esteem and self-confidence.
Periodontal therapy not only restores health to the mouth, it also improves patients’ smiles and quality of life. It is no coincidence that the logo of the EFP and several of its member national societies of periodontology features the smile.
Next year’s Gum Health Day, the annual awareness day (May 12) run by the 30 national societies and co-ordinated by the EFP, will focus on the smile as a way to engage members of the public with messages about the importance of periodontal health.
This will build on work done in recent years by the EFP and its member societies. Two years ago, the British Society of Periodontology (BSP) ran an effective and hard-hitting advertising campaign based around the slogan “Don’t let gum disease wipe the smile off your face.”
And the EFP-promoted film The Sound of Periodontitis, which focuses on the patient’s perspective of periodontal disease and treatment, highlights concerns about the effect of periodontitis on the smile and on self-confidence.
“When I was having my dental problems, I had some dark years,” one woman says in the film. “I was so afraid of opening [my mouth] and exposing my ugly side. It was something I couldn’t talk about because the problem was caused by my poor oral hygiene. I felt shame.”
So periodontal disease can indeed wipe the smile off people’s faces. But the good news is that it is preventable and treatable. And that is surely something to smile about!