Julio Barrios
School Program & CSR Coordinator
Colgate
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View from the Top

OTC Mammoth Leading Oral Health Education

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 16:12

Q: Dental health is usually relegated as a cosmetic problem by different institutes of health – what can be done to change this perspective?

A: This perspective can be changed by analyzing the severity of the consequences of poor dental health that affect people in a biological, psychological, and social way and the relationship of these factors to other diseases such as diabetes. Unaddressed oral problems, such as cavities, can lead to extremely expensive treatments, absenteeism in the workplace, and at times even fatal complications. Colgate is working with other institutions to provide education programs on basic dental health for patients. We are also implementing the “Saludarte” program for health professionals alongside the Mexican Dental Association (ADM) and the Ministry of Public Education (SEP).

In this initiative, we train teachers from different Universities, like the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), about daily brushing, dental emergencies, and general topics surrounding oral heath so they can share their knowledge with their students and patients. We are collaborating with oral health education departments in schools by offering different videos that teachers can use to show the students how to brush their teeth. Colgate also distributes flyers and brochures at schools with different teeth brushing techniques and all the necessary information to help the parents provide an appropriate oral education to their children.

Q: When was the global Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program implemented in Mexico and how many children have you treated in the country?

A: This program has been active for 25 years, and throughout that time, over 40 million children have benefitted from its implementation. Over the past four years, the average number of children that have received treatment has been 2.2 million per year and Bright Smiles, Bright Futures has now increased its coverage. We are working closely with various oral health specialists and private and governmental institutions to help us attain our goals. This program is currently being implemented in different towns around the country such as Mexico City, Morelia, Leon, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Puebla, Veracruz and San Luis Potosi. We are also expanding the program to incorporate isolated rural communities with the help of different Universities and the ADM, as well as that of our eleven ambassadors that are able to provide treatment to approximately 1,000 children per day in these areas.

Q: Are you collaborating with public or private health institutions to create similar programs?

A: Colgate is collaborating with the organization Reading is Fundamental to promote Healthy Bedtime Habits, although this has yet to be implemented in Mexico. We promote healthy habits through Bright Smiles, Bright Futures by focusing on daily brushing that includes handwashing, exercising, teeth brushing, and following a healthy diet. For this purpose, Colgate works closely with several government agencies, governmental dependencies, and other private organizations. These institutions include the Integrated Family Development (DIF) from Mexico City and Puebla, the Mexican Ministry of Health (SSA), and the Alliance for a Cavity Free Future. Colgate is promoting the Global Handwashing Day and through Bright Smiles, Bright Futures we promote hand-washing, due to a firm belief that oral health is multi-faceted and constitutes more than just teeth brushing. Therefore, we encourage other healthy habits to prevent bad hygiene and therefore, diseases.

Q: Is Colgate planning to create more programs of this type?

A: Colgate is planning to expand on existing programs, through enriching the support given to different governmental institutions, the private sector, schools, universities, and other dental health professionals. We believe in a continuous improvement and the creation and implementation of new material that will be more appealing to people and schools. Our main goal for this year is to create a culture of daily brushing and to change ingrained perceptions regarding oral health. We plan to help over 2.3 million children with our programs and to reach a larger demographic by providing donations of our Colgate NeutrAzúcar toothpaste.