Oral Health Foundation

Smile House, 2 E Union St
Rugby UK CV22 6AJ

Oral Health Foundation is an independent charity dedicated to improving oral health in the UK and around the world.


The mission of Oral Health Foundation is to improve oral health by providing impartial and independent advice, information and education.The Oral Health Foundation has a free and independent helpline that is run by a team of dental nurses and oral health educators.

During the year 2007/2008 the helpline received 25,000 calls, pushing the overall figure of enquiries over 250,000 during its decade of operation

The Oral Health Foundation is an independent charity that is dedicated to improving the oral health of the public by providing free and impartial dental advice, by running educational campaigns and by informing and influencing the public, profession and government on issues such as mouth cancer awareness and fluoridation.

On 9 July 1970, thirty dentists with others of similar interests met at the Berners hotel in London to discuss the formation of a new dental health organisation with soon-to-be Chairman Jack Manning being elected to set up a formation committee. The meeting had been the brainchild of a number of enthusiasts from the British Dental Trade Association led by John Davis and Peter de Trey. The formation committee worked in close association with the British Dental Association (BDA) over the next ten months and to then create the British Dental Health Foundation and a meeting was held at the Royal Society of Medicine on Friday 21 May 1971.

Over the next eighteen months an enormous amount of activity was undertaken by the members of the formation committee to establish funding, formulate the Articles and Memorandum of Association and apply to the Charity commissioners for registration as a charity. The charity was to be unique amongst dental bodies in that membership would be open to not only the profession, but also ancillaries and corporate members from the dental trade.

On 26 October 1971, the first meeting of initial subscribers was held at the Royal Society of Medicine. Jack Manning was elected the first Chairman of Council, John Davis the honorary secretary and Martin Seymour the Treasurer. Mr Douglas Lewis was to be appointed as the first consultant director. The Association for the Preservation of Dental Health Ltd, trading as the British Dental Health Foundation (later to become the Oral Health Foundation) was born. Its main aim had been defined as 'To preserve the dental health of the community in all its aspects and in particular to educate the community in the benefits of achieving and maintaining the highest standards of dental health'.

At the time, this type of public activity, which would rely on funding from the dental trade as well as the profession and involve the whole dental team, was not considered by the BDA to be appropriate to its role as the dentist's professional association, trade union and negotiating body. Indeed, it was not until some eighteen years later, after one or two previous abortive forays into the world of public relations that the BDA set up its press office with ex-Oral Health Foundation Executive Director Lynn Stroud at the helm.

Formed in 1971, the concept of preventive dentistry and the benefits which could ensue from it were very new and being practiced by only a small proportion of the dental profession. The founding fathers of the Foundation wished to see the preventive message that 'Teeth are for Life' spread as widely as possible to the public with the aim of improving the overall health of the nation's teeth.The Foundation has run a National Dental Helpline from their head office in Rugby, Warwickshire, for over a decade.

The helpline offers free advice and has received almost 350,000 calls since its creation, dealing with a large range of dental enquiries from the public.

The charity provides an exclusive range of dental products and educational material for dental practices, PCTs and oral health educators from around the UK and its range of over 50 'Tell Me About' patient information leaflets are distributed across the country.

The British Dental Health Foundation also organise and run two annual campaigns, National Smile Month (May 20 - June 20) and Mouth Cancer Action Month (throughout November). The Foundation uses the campaigns to spread public awareness of oral health issues via the press while encouraging the profession to be more active in education in their local communities.

Map of Oral Health Foundation Smile House, 2 E Union St, Rugby UK CV22 6AJ

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