Improving oral health
Every smile matters, so we’re on a mission to improve oral health across the globe by promoting a simple but effective message: brush day and night.
Fighting tooth decay is vital
According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016, it’s estimated that oral diseases affect half of the world’s population – 3.58 billion people – with tooth decay being cited as the most common.1 This might seem like a minor complaint, but it can have a big knock-on effect on health, well-being and productivity.
Toothache is the number one reason for children missing school in many countries. But it’s not just their education that suffers. According to a global study that we commissioned in 2019, poor oral health not only damages children's teeth, it can also lower their self-esteem and negatively affect their performance at school. Furthermore, poor oral hygiene can lead to long-term health issues and life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease.
The solution is simple: brushing teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste reduces the occurrence of cavities by 90% compared to not brushing teeth at all.
A smiling future is our goal
At Smile, we believe that every smile matters.
For over 25 years, Smile, our oral care masterbrand, has been on a mission to encourage good brushing habits through school programmes and free dental check-ups, partnering with dentists and schools to teach children how to brush day and night. Smile encompasses the following oral care brands: Signal; Pepsodent; Mentadent; Aim; and P/S.
Our brand’s purpose, which is to eradicate preventable oral disease so everyone can unlock the power of their smile, is at the heart of what we do.
Through our Smile brands, we are contributing to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, Good Health & Well-being and 17, Partnerships for the Goals. Specifically, we are contributing to target 3.4 on reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment.
We aim to reach as many people as possible with our brush day and night message. This way, we can unlock the power of a healthy smile for millions, enabling people to live a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life.
Educating people around the world on good oral health
- >102 million
By 2019, our Smile brand had reached a total of over 102 million people, more than double our 2020 target
An estimated 3 billion people don’t brush their teeth twice a day. Most use less than half the toothpaste dentists recommend for brushing properly. And 1 billion or more don’t use fluoride toothpaste at all.
That’s a lot of people we can help – and a big prospective market for our oral health brands.
Worldwide, we’ve reached a total of 102 million people through our Brush Day & Night educational programme, free dental checks and TV adverts promoting the importance of oral health and hygiene – vastly exceeding our target of 50 million by 2020.
Smile has been running extensive on-ground oral health programmes since 1989. We estimate that in the last 20 years, we have reached around 90 million people.2
Every Smile toothpaste teaches children to Brush Day & Night
The importance of teaching good oral hygiene habits early in life can’t be overlooked. According to the World Health Organization, oral health problems affect 60-90% children worldwide.3
For over 25 years, our Smile Brush Day & Night schools programme has been on a mission – to actively improve oral health by educating through free dental check-ups and teaching the importance of brushing day and night. Each time someone brushes their teeth using one of our toothpastes, they are supporting this programme.
Since our Brush Day & Night programme began, we have reached over 100 million people worldwide. The programme is running in more than 20 countries. But good oral health habits aren’t just for children; adults get toothache and pain too – and often they don’t visit dentists. So we partnered with the Indonesian Dental Association to create the Pepsodent Dental Expert Centre (PEDC). Established in 2013, this is Indonesia’s first and only completely free oral health centre that provides dental check-ups and oral health education. Indonesians rarely visit the dentist. However, the PEDC gives Indonesians easy access to dental experts and encourages them to visit. At the PEDC, people are guided on the proper brushing technique and provided with a consultation and complimentary dental check-up from our in-house pool of experienced dentists and dental health educators. Patients are also educated on the importance of oral health.
The PEDC is packed with advanced facilities and an ‘edutainment’ centre. Since opening, the Pepsodent Dental Expert Centre has had over 30,000 individual visitors per year over 850 visits from elementary schools and universities. It also organises regular programmes for Indonesian dentists, such as webinars and expert forums involving more than 300 dentists from 30 cities across the country.
This work supports the following UN Sustainable Development Goals
Using digital to get kids excited about brushing
Little Brush Big Brush is our free interactive behaviour change chatbot to get children excited about brushing their teeth. Launched at the end of 2016, Little Brush Big Brush is now being used in homes across 16 markets.
Packed with entertaining animal characters, the chatbot unfolds in a series of fun, daily episodes delivered via Facebook messenger. Children must complete their nightly brushing challenge to unlock the next episode of the story – every day for 21 days.
Increasing kids’ brushing by 25% through Brush Day & Night
Children are an important focus for our Smile oral care brands. Research shows that learning good brushing habits at a young age can ingrain these habits for a lifetime. And by educating children, we also have an opportunity to reach their parents, families and communities as the kids we teach become ambassadors for good oral hygiene.
Through the fun and engaging Brush Day & Night school programme, we encourage behaviour change over 21 days. Why 21 days? Because that’s how long something needs to be practised for it to become a habit. This is the theory behind our Five Levers for Change (PDF | 4MB).
Since 2005, we have been working in partnership with the FDI (World Dental Federation), an international, membership-based organisation that serves as the main representative body for over 1 million dentists. Through our Brush Day & Night campaign, we are working together with the FDI to improve oral health globally.
In the Brush Day & Night school programme we give the children practical tools, like a 21-day calendar with stickers, to keep track of their toothbrushing – and their parents’ toothbrushing too. Our partnership with FDI has helped us to evaluate the effectiveness of our Brush Day & Night programme in 10 countries. The results showed that the programme has been successful in increasing twice-daily brushing behaviour in children by 25% and that on average, children had lower levels of visible plaque than they did at the beginning of the programme.
The 21-day programme has proven results in leading to improved oral health, knowledge and oral behaviour, such as more children brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. And, our school programme materials are publicly available online so that anyone can get involved in teaching kids good brushing habits for life.
This work supports the following UN Sustainable Development Goals
Reaching 1.2 billion people through World Oral Health Day
Through Smile, we also partner with the FDI World Dental Federation to increase awareness and promote the importance of oral health on 20 March each year, World Oral Health Day (WOHD). We run online campaigns, pledges to Brush Day & Night, and mass toothbrushing and singing events around the world to promote tooth brushing.
In 2019, through the widescale promotion of local World Oral Health Day events, media and online engagement initiatives, we reached 1.2 billion people on the importance of good oral health.
1 World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/oral-health
2 This is not additional to our reach of over 102 million people. Many of the people we have reached has been through both on-ground programmes and TV reach.
3 World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/oral_health/disease_burden/global/en/