As part of its World Oral Health Day celebrations, Mentadent P partnered with SADA and the Department of Basic Education, and embarked on a three-week long educational roadshow, providing free dental health checks for children in schools in Gauteng before heading to Durban for a public activation at Umlazi Megacity and visits to NGO communities including LIV Village and St Vincent’s Children’s Home.
Over the past three weeks passionate volunteer dentists from all over the country donated their time and skills to provide these checks for children, with each child who participated receiving a certificate and free toothbrush and toothpaste from Mentadent P.
Those who required further treatment received a referral letter to take home to their parents. Promoters at the activations ensured children and parents learned the importance of brushing everyday day and night to prevent tooth decay, which is one of the leading causes of absenteeism in schools.
The campaign received an outpouring of support from partners and dentists across the country. One of the volunteer dentists, Dr. M. Arumugam from Gumz and More Dental in Roodepoort offered free dental treatments to the Grade 1 learners at Cosmo City P1 School in Randburg, for those who required urgent care post the free oral health screenings. Another supporter, FDI and SADA National Liaison Officer, Dr Khanyi Makwakwa joined the team at the road shows in Tshwane along with her colleagues from Sefako Makgotho Health Science University to support the cause.
“We believe that nothing should stand in the way of a child smiling, but, according to local studies 60% of primary school children are suffering with untreated tooth decay, which leads to pain and discomfort and ultimately affects school attendance and performance,” said Babalwa Lupondwana, Assistant Brand Manager, Oral Care, Unilever South Africa, “Mentadent P has been a champion of oral health for over 25 years and has touched over 75 million lives to date through its outreach and education programmes and this roadshow allowed us to reach even more children and parents with this important information.”
Volunteer dentist, Simphiwe Mdunge, who assisted with free oral health checks at Umlazi Mega City, said, “This initiative is very much needed in this community, because many children don’t have access to dental services, and they lack oral health education. Initiatives like this are great because they provide the basic checks as well as the education to empower the children.”
On 20 March, in celebration of World Oral Health Day, Mentadent P asked South Africans to share a picture of their smile online in order to donate a toothbrush and toothpaste to a child in need. Throughout the day, social media was awash with smiling faces sharing the World Oral Health Day hashtag #EverySmileMatters. Some prominent South Africans and online personalities also joined in to help Mentadent P raise awareness with their own smiling selfies including; Boity, Donavan Goliath, Bailey Schneider, Letshego Zulu and Thickleeyonce.
In total, Mentadent P completed 1 473 dental checks and will be giving away 349 638 toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste to school children in need in lieu of the smiles collected in the form of social media engagements including; likes, shares, comments and tagged posts.