HAVE you got the smile factor?
That’s the question being asked by health chiefs as National Smile Month gets under way.
The Wearside-wide campaign aims to remind people of the importance of looking after their teeth.
Team manager Joanne Robson, from the NHS South of Tyne and Wear Community Health Services’ oral health promotion team, said: “Think of all those people who are considered to have that special ‘X’ factor and you picture their confident smile.
“But not everyone has the confidence to smile.
“Some people are not happy with, or are self-conscious about, their teeth.
“We want to put the smile back on people’s faces so they can really display their personalities.
“At the same time, we want to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy diet.
“There is a link between good oral health and good overall body health.
“Having healthy teeth can actually improve the quality of people’s lives.”
National Smile Month, which runs from tomorrow until June 15, is an annual campaign run by the British Dental Health Foundation.
As well as educating the general public, the promotion team will be working in special schools in Sunderland to raise awareness of the importance of oral health.
The children will also be invited to design a “healthy mouth” poster.
Each school will decide on an entry and a trophy, certificates and a £25 book voucher are on offer for the winners.
Regardless of their age, entrants are reminded of the three basic rules for good oral health, which are to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste; cut down on sugary food and drinks; and to visit the dentist regularly.
This is important as scientific research continues to prove a link between gum disease and heart disease, strokes, diabetes, breast cancer and risk of having premature babies.