The Dentist Magazine.

A great leap forward for public health education

Published: 12/07/2017

Last May 12, 27 EFP-affiliated national societies of periodontology jointly celebrated European Gum Health Day 2017, an international awareness day that succeeded in putting gum health in the spotlight.

For the first time an unprecedented amount of coverage was given to periodontal science and practice, and millions of people – from Portugal to Azerbaijan, from Morocco to Finland – learnt about the implications of gum disease and the importance of healthy gums and their impact on their overall health and wellbeing.

All this was made possible thanks to the impressive work carried out by these 27 participating national societies – by their boards and their members alike. As a result of their ideas, commitment, and efforts, periodontology is today better known by citizens, policymakers and fellow health professionals. Thanks to hundreds of periodontists and dentists volunteering to take part in dozens of public events, the message of “fighting periodontal disease together” was communicated very effectively.

In short, European Gum Health Day 2017 was a resounding success and the

European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) extends its congratulations to all participating national societies – as this success belongs to them above all.

Congratulations for having engaged so well with dental professionals, other health players, institutions, and the media. Congratulations for your leaflet hand-outs, your press releases and press conferences, your social-media campaigns, your free periodontal check-ups, your courses, your public-affairs initiatives, and your clinical surveys. Congratulations for your TV and radio interviews, your videos, and your scientific articles.

Periodontal practices and professionals across Europe will certainly benefit from the growing awareness of gum health and gum disease. But the main beneficiaries of European Gum Health Day 2017 are people. Each additional person who goes for a check-up when they notice their gums are bleeding is a victory. Each parent who now tells their children to patiently clean all chewing surfaces and sides of the teeth at least twice daily is a success. Each physician who now explains to their patients how periodontitis can herald diabetes or interact with it can make a huge difference.

Preparing the 2018 awareness day

As the EFP looks back with pride on the success of European Gum Health Day

2017, it is fitting to acknowledge the contribution of people such as Juan Blanco, the EFP’s immediate past president, who paved the way for the establishment of what is unanimously seen today as an indispensable EFP yearly event.

But, as well as looking back on the success of 12 May, 2017 and at the many lessons we can learn from it, it is now time to look ahead and to start preparing the 2018 European awareness day for periodontal health, the co-ordination of which will rest in the capable hands of Xavier Struillou.

The EFP invites all members of the oral healthcare team to start dreaming about the EFP’s awareness day on May 12, 2018. Current and potential dental patients will appreciate it – and they will take advantage of it.

Filippo Graziani

Co-ordinator of European Gum Health Day 2017

Gernot Wimmer

EFP president

More information on European Gum Health Day 2017:

www.efp.org/events/european-gum-health-day/index.html