Inspiring Better Oral Health with Animated Story

Mary Ekah
In line with its mission to reach 10 million Nigerian school children with face-to-face engagement, through its school oral health programmes by 2020, teaching when and how best to brush teeth for optimal oral health always, Unilever’s toothpaste brand, Pepsodent, has for the first time introduced a new digital behaviour change programme to make daily tooth brushing a fun habit for the whole family.
The initiative, which is mobile approach to behaviour change, tagged, ‘Little Brush, Big Brush’, is a 21-day behaviour change programme to help families with children build better tooth brushing habits through fun and play, delivered on people’s mobile phones through Facebook messenger. Combining strong storytelling and cutting-edge AI technology, Little Brush Big Brush is an animated story, which comprises 21 episodes featuring animal characters that help children develop good brushing habits for life.
The innovation was unveiled during the just concluded World Oral Health Day celebration marked by the company in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigerian Dental Association at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, to raise awareness of the importance of brushing teeth daily, morning and night with a fluoride toothpaste like Pepsodent to avoid dental decay with the hope more families will be reached through this unique innovation.
Speaking at the event, Global Vice President, Oral Care, Unilever, Severine Vauleon, explained that children are powerful behaviour change advocates in their homes, often driving conversation and action with parents around issues like this, adding, “We’re confident that kids will love the stories and characters and this will drive their interest and excitement to brush day and night.”
It is estimated that more than one billion people do not use fluoride toothpaste, and over three billion do not brush their teeth twice a day. The result is that dental decay affects nearly millions of adults and children. Furthermore, untreated tooth decay can have a serious and long-lasting effect on children’s growth, brain development and overall health. With many children consequently missing out on school and social opportunities, they can fail to reach their full potential in life. Vauleon noted therefore that building good brushing habits in children sets them up for better oral health in the future, which in turn leads to better overall health outcomes.
The theme of this year’s World Oral Health Day was ‘Live Mouth Smart’ and the President Nigerian Dental Association, Dr. Bode Ijarogbe, said there was need to empower people to take control of their oral health throughout life so they can enjoy a healthy, functional mouth from childhood into old age.  “Maintaining optimal oral health into old age ensures you live not only a longer life, but also one free from the physical pain and often emotional suffering caused by oral disease,” Ijarogbe added.
Guests at the event included school children, parents, caregivers and Unilever representatives, who all gathered to pledge their commitment to Brush Everyday, Day and Night