May is National Smile Month, and is the perfect opportunity for dental care professionals to market their practices. According to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services, 2009 was the first time that the United Kingdom and the United States simultaneously celebrated National Smile Month. That year, the British Dental Health Foundation collaborated with Oral Health America to raise awareness for oral health.
Dental hygiene is imperative for overall health, but many people struggle to take care of their teeth. As of April 2012, 60 to 90 percent of children and approximately 100 percent of adults had at least one cavity, according to the World Health Organization. Additionally, 15 to 20 percent of people between the ages of 35 and 44 suffer from gum disease.
The goal of National Smile Month is to decrease these figures by teaching patients how important oral health is. Dentists, hygienists, orthodontists and oral surgeons should participate in the awareness month to encourage patients to make appointments and start taking better care of their teeth. Ultimately, National Smile Month is a great opportunity for the medical community to come together and raise awareness for a troubling issue that affects millions of people around the world. Using marketing tools like direct mail and unique promotional products can help dental care professionals reach out to the public in May.
A common problem is that patients don’t understand how to take care of their teeth and why it’s important to do so. Many consumers know that they’re supposed to brush and floss every day, but few know how long they should spend on each activity. Dental health professionals should use National Smile Month as an opportunity to educate clients on how to properly care for their teeth and gums.
Promotional calendars might be the best tools for that purpose. Dentists and other medical professionals can distribute the branded items to all of their clients. Dental care tips should be included on each page so that patients learn a new lesson every month. For instance, January can feature an explanation why people should brush their teeth for at least two minutes, and then February can focus on flossing. As the year progress, clients will learn more and more about how to take care of their teeth and gums. At the end, every patient will likely have pearly whites because they’ve been doing such a good job maintaining their hygiene.
Promotional marketing products can also be combined with direct mail to reach out to patients during National Smile Month. The two advertising tools work well together because they can grab attention to generate awareness for oral health. Dental health professionals can send small gifts with every mailer to actively engage patients. Tooth-shaped promotional magnets are great options because they’re small enough to fit inside standard envelopes and will be nice surprises for recipients. Consumers rarely receive trinkets in the mail so the branded items will help the postal advertisements stand out from other marketing materials.
For the actual mailer, the Houston Chronicle recommends sending newsletters to patients. The advertisements can include important information on procedures and available services so recipients understand their healthcare options. Additionally, dental health professionals can announce celebrations and events for National Smile so that patients know about the awareness month. Newsletters allow medical professionals to connect with their clients and create active engagement. Unlike other mailers, these options are informative and go beyond the usual promotional aspects of direct mail. Presenting actionable information will help create awareness for dental health and prevent many common issues.