Celebrating Children’s Smiles: Extra Smile Back project Launches

June 13th, 2016

In recognition of National Smile Month, a brand new project has been launched by The Wrigley Company. The Extra Smile Back project recognises the importance of children’s smiles, and aims to protect and enhance children’s confidence in their smiles. To do this, the project aims to help children learn the skills they need to maintain good oral health and hygiene.

The Extra Smile Back project was launched through a study carried out by the University of Cambridge Psychometrics Centre. The study took place to examine the impact of a child’s smile on those around them. The reaction is known as the ‘Smile Back’ effect. Over a tenth of adults were found to smile more frequently in the presence of children, compared to when they were with only other adults, or were by themselves. It would therefore seem that being around the younger generations makes us more likely to flash our pearly whites!

The study also looked at other factors which make us more likely to smile. It was found that if our teeth are healthy and in good condition we smile more often. Those participants who had better oral health also reported high self-confidence and life satisfaction. It would seem that oral health and hygiene are therefore a key factor in relation to our self-esteem and well-being.

The Extra Smile Back project aims to support children to develop the confidence to smile by promoting good knowledge and understanding of the steps we need to take to keep our teeth healthy. The project will run oral health workshops in partnership with the Oral health Foundation. More than 10,000 disadvantaged children will be supported through these workshops to learn how to keep their smile in tip-top condition. In addition, educational materials and resources in the form of ‘Brush up on smiles’ packs, will be sent to primary schools in 12 areas of the UK where tooth decay rates are particularly high. The Co-Op Food will also be supporting with this element of the project.

So how can you get involved? As part of the project, a new children’s book about oral health has been published by Wrigley. The book, by Joseph Coelho, is called: ‘The Lost Smile’ and follows the journey of a young boy as he discovers all about oral hygiene and how to protect your smile. ‘The Lost Smile’ is available to purchase online via the project website: www.smileback.wrigley.co.uk . In addition, the project will be funded partially through purchases of Extra sugar free chewing gum. For every purchase between 23rd May and 16th July, Wrigley will make a donation to Action for Children, who will use the funding to work alongside the Oral Health Foundation in creating and delivering the workshops. So next time you’re at your local shop, pick up a pack of Extra sugar free gum and you’ll be helping towards the project’s mission, and helping to create a generation of children with confidence in their smiles.

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