The movement was launched after Oral-B came together with AC Nielsen to conduct a nationwide survey, which revealed alarming results about the poor state of oral hygiene in India, and the need for increased education and awareness on the subject.
Lead by more than 10,000 dentists across India, the initiative travelled to malls and schools across the nation to reach out to the masses and impart knowledge on the significance of good oral health.
The movement received support from 10,000 dentists and in a month, managed to get more than one crore Indians to take the pledge to brush in the right manner and to visit the dentist regularly. Pledges were taken on two fronts – that they will brush right (that is, brush for two minutes), brush twice a day and use the right toothbrush; and secondly, visit the dentist regularly (once in every six months).
The culmination of the movement was celebrated with Bollywood actors Prachi Desai and Juhi Chawla. The celebrities highlighted how the state of oral hygiene of the country is low, with 53 per cent of Indians suffering from common tooth problems such as toothache, bleeding gums, bad breath and decayed teeth. It also received support from celebrities such as Vidya Balan, Sonali Bendre, Jennifer Kotwal and Andrea Jeremiah, who played a key role in influencing more consumers to join this movement.
Discussing the movement, Sharat Verma, brand manager, Oral-B, says, “We launched Smile India Movement with the aim of helping create an India with healthy, confident smiles, by educating the nation on the right oral care habits. I am proud to say that we have contributed significantly towards improving the oral health standards of the nation, with the support of more than 10,000 dentists and by getting one crore consumers to take the Oral-B Smile India Pledge.”
As part of its Smile India Movement, Oral-B, in association with The Indian Dental Association and dat help, has broken the Guinness World Record for conducting the largest number of free dental checkups in 24 hours at a single location. A total of 48 doctors teamed up to conduct 19,904 dental checkups to break the world record previously held for conducting 3,300 free dental checkups by 600 dentists in 24 hours.
The dental checkups were conducted by the IDA Coimbatore branch continuously, starting from 8:01 am on October 7, 2010 and extending up to 7:59 am on October 8.
Wrigley Orbit and Colgate have also carried out similar mass contact programmes earlier. In a similar activity done on a smaller scale, the Indian Dental Association (IDA), in partnership with Wrigley’s Orbit sugar free chewing gum, organised an oral care marathon, Mumbai Smiles, in October 2009. Mumbai Smiles was a part of the World Dental Show, where more than 600 dentists from across the country met and participated in a 24 hour dental checkup marathon.
Colgate-Palmolive India, along with the IDA, successfully concluded the sixth edition of the oral health awareness programme in 2009. Oral Health Month (OHM) was initiated in 2004 as a programme spread across six cities, with an aim to establish and promote the importance of good oral care habits and dat practice.
In 2009, it managed to reach out to 1,000 towns for the first time, with the support of 17,500 dental professionals. Through a mobile dental van initiative, the company also reached 37 cities and provided more than 1.2 lakh free dental checkups, while more than four lakh school children were given tips on oral care hygiene through the special School Oral Health Awareness programme.