Organisation Advocates for Good Oral Health with Project Smile

L-R: Executive Director, ASG Solutions, Aaron Idonije; Founder and Chief Executive of JSK Etiquette Consortium Jenet Adetu; Music Artist and Dentist, Sidney Esiri; Project Smile Founder and Chief Executive Smile360 Dental Specialists, Dr. Amy Traore; Chief Operating Officer Smile360 Dental Specialist, Uday Naik and Project Smile Director and Dentist, Akinsanmi Apara during the press conference on seventh edition of Project Smile in Nigeria held in Lagos...recently

With the aim of putting smile on faces through oral hygiene advocacy and building confidence through good dentition, Smile360 recently held the seventh edition of ‘Project Smile’ in Lagos. It likewise launched the ‘Smiles Made in Nigeria’ campaign. Sunday Ehigiator reports

Wait; take a minute to think about your toothache experience. It is often said that the worst type of pain ever known to man, aside labour pain, is toothache. Hence, oral health is a key indicator of overall health, well-being and quality of life.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines oral health as “a state of being free from chronic mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral infection and sores, gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psycho-social well-being.”

Oral health touches every aspect of human lives but it is often taken for granted, and less spoken of in Nigeria. The mouth is a window into the health of the body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection.

No doubt, taking good care of your mouth, teeth and gums is a worthy goal. It doesn’t only help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease, good oral and dental hygiene can build confidence to speak among peers, or even while in an interview.

These were the background to which Project Smile was born. According to the CEO, Smile360, Dr. Amy Traore-Shumbusho, during a media brief, “Project Smile is a complimentary smile makeover initiative for Nigerian youth who have suffered stigmatisation or lost opportunities due to cases of flawed dentition.

“Project smile started about eight years ago and a total of about 24 young men and women spread across the country have become beneficiaries since we started the initiative comprising of seven seasons.

“About 90 per cent of them have completed their smile makeover treatment, which could sometimes last over two years. And I must also mention that the cost of this process runs over millions of naira, but the beneficiaries doesn’t have to pay a dime other than making themselves available for it.

“Virtually all candidates who entered for the contest deserve a great smile. Nevertheless, the program is designed to accommodate only one beneficiary. The determination of this one beneficiary is a result of long and rigorous screening of entries that lasted for weeks, selection of nominees, clinical evaluation of each nominee and panel assessment of the entries and clinical evaluation report.

“We would love to accommodate more beneficiaries but due to limited funding at the moment we are only able to help a few people. Our vision is to have at least 20 beneficiaries each year. This is possible if we are able to get partnerships and support,” he added.

On the importance of good dentition and smile to Nigerians, Project Smile Celebrity Judge, and Dentist, Sidney Esiri, stage-named Dr. Sid, said good dentition and smile was everything in the entertainment industry.

According to him, “As a trained dentist and an artist, I can’t tell you enough, how important good dentition is to entertainers. As you know, entertainment is a showbiz. Smile is very essential and having good dentition gives you the much-needed confidence to perform on stage and open your mouth to sing.

“You can’t have a bad breath if you maintain proper oral hygiene. Project Smile is just one of the ways of putting smile on people’s faces. When you have good dentition, you can’t help but smile a lot because you are not bothered about your dentition or who is watching.”

Speaking on the modalities of the project, Project Smile Director and Dentist, Akinsanmi Apara said the initiative was in its seventh season with this year’s season kicking off in September 16, 2019 through a call for entry which lasted for eight weeks.

“During this period, 226 candidates, each with a narrative of a costly dental flaw that has deprived them of opportunities, entered for a chance to win the prize of a smile makeover, in the bid to transform their dental configuration and realize the dream of a great smile.

“Out of this number, 12 candidates were nominated out of which only one lucky winner would emerge. However, every of the 12 participants seated here are winners. We know that we are only rooting for one winner, however others would be leaving with proper guide, mentor-ship and counseling on how to take care of their,” he said.

Speaking on some other activities and might of Smile 360, the Chief Operating Officer Smile 360, and Dental Specialist, Uday Naik, said ‘Project Smile’, among other things, was part of the ways of giving back to the society.

Naik said: “We are consecutively a five-time winner of the ‘Best Dental Service Provider Award’, as conferred by the ‘Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award’. We are a cutting-edge clinic with Orthodontics, Dento-facial Orthopaedics with emphasis on cosmetic dentistry.

“We invested heavily in state-of-the-art technology, cutting-edge procedures and a superior stress-free experience. Now, our goal is to remind people that they have access to world-class dental care, right in their backyard.

“There is no purpose in flying to Turkey, India or other places to get your dental work when you can do it locally. Not only will you be saving time and money, you will also be reducing the stress of going to a place you are unsure with all the risk factor.

“The technological advances in the oral industry and skilled dental practitioners make it possible for you to have the smile you’ve always dreamed of no matter; how much or little work needs to get done.”

Speaking on the importance of smile in the cooperate industry, the Executive Director, ASG Solutions, Aaron Idonije, said “Without a smile, you scare your customers away. And with a bad breath, business associated, partners would stay far away, especially, if you are a customer care representative.

“Having a bad teeth and breath is one of the detriments to smile. Youth often go for interviews and they wonder why they aren’t picked despite having all the academic qualifications. Sometimes, employment goes beyond your academic qualifications.

“Often times, it’s your confidence and the first impression you create with a smile. It is natural to smile back when people great you with a smile. That is how powerful a smile can be. And having good dentitions makes it all beautiful. Hence the Project Smile is a very commendable one as it aims at bringing out smile in everyone and also consciously creating awareness on oral health.”