Keep Britain Smiling campaign gains momentum

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  Posted by: The Probe      2nd March 2021

The KeepStokeSmiling campaign has been running since 2018 and is going from strength to strength. Its aim was to highlight the importance of teeth, and the importance of looking after them! Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire has some of the highest rates of dental decay in children and young adults in the entire country, and the campaign aims to change that.

Consultant Orthodontist at The Royal Stoke University Hospital, Miss Karen Juggins explains how the campaign started. “In January 2018 I turned to say goodbye to a patient, only to witness another glossy information leaflet being pushed into the coat-pocket of a 14-year-old. It was the third time I had seen it happen that morning. The three patients were all a similar age and appeared simply to dismiss the leaflets – while at the same time, each carefully extracted an iPhone and tapped the screen for notifications. And this was before they had even left the surgery.

“If we really want to deliver information about oral health and orthodontics to teenagers, we need to put it on a screen. We recruited celebrities to our cause, including ex-England Footballer, Peter Crouch; Athlete, Colin Jackson and Scientist and Politician, Professor Lord Winston among others. This has helped KeepStokeSmiling reach around 1.5K followers across five social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok. Each platform has a slightly different target audience. All are highly effective at getting our message across. Our Instagram and Facebook posts regularly reach between 4K-8K: From 12 March until 8 April 2020, our reach on Facebook alone was 12K, with 7.4K engagement. Twitter has a reach of between 5-7K, and we’re just beginning with YouTube and TikTok!

A ‘Keep Great Britain Smiling’ twitter account @KeepGBsmiling has now been launched. The latest campaign is ‘Fizz-Free Schools’ – in conjunction with the local council and Dental Public Health, the team have developed a ‘Fizz-Free tool-kit’ which will be sent to all local schools. Advertising giants JCDecaux, have agreed to support this campaign which will see new billboards and oral health messages on JCDecaux owned street furniture in the city. Once established in Stoke and Staffordshire, it is hoped it will become a national model that can be copied by other NHS Trusts, Councils or Dental Public Health teams.

Other hospital orthodontic departments around the country have started to follow Stoke’s lead – including Derby, Oxford, Burton, Chesterfield, Sheffield and Dorset and Stafford. What started as a small departmental project, has resulted in a national campaign to encourage young people to be proud of their smiles. By promoting rather than preaching oral health messages to young people, it is hoped they’ll make the decision to look after their teeth.

You can help the KeepBritainSmiling campaign by tagging #keepbritainsmiling and #fizzfreeschools in any of your oral health social media posts. It only takes a couple of seconds and can help continue to raise the profile of this important issue.


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