Battling a silent health crisis in the Philippines

How can you protect our children?

Over the years, a silent health crisis continues to affect the lives of millions of Filipino children, going undetected by parents and teachers due to a lack of awareness and information. Dental cavities, unseen yet harmful, have led to “missing smiles” and have also greatly affected the well-being of these children, leading to absenteeism and hindering them from performing their daily activities.

The recent National Survey on Oral Health of the Department of Health showed that poor oral health has negatively affected children’s social interactions and academic performances. A staggering 83% of children aged 5-12 years old are struggling because of this.

Cavities can cause a physical and psychosocial impact on the lives of children in the Philippines.

Dental issues caused by cavities lead to sleep interruptions, physical inconveniences such as dry mouth and difficulty eating, and a psychosocial impact among children. The Department of Health emphasized the role of parents, teachers, and communities in preventing and addressing this massive health issue.

Recognizing the impact of the dental health crisis on children and their families, Colgate, the Philippines’ partner and ally in superior oral health, is working closely with the Department of Education and Local Government Units to address the silent health crisis. The company is optimistic that while millions of children globally are impacted by the silent health crisis, there are various ways to prevent it and reduce the number of those affected. Believing that “Everyone Deserves a Future They Can Smile About”, Colgate continues to work for a brighter, smiling Philippines through the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® program, and with best-in-class oral health solutions.

Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® (BSBF) program has touched the lives of more than a billion children in over 80 countries around the world. In the Philippines, BSBF  has reached 40 million school children in the past 25 years. Since 1997, the program has reached 37,000 public schools and 700 daycare centers across 319 cities and municipalities.

With the help of the government, BSBF pledges to improve the oral health of Filipinos and work towards eliminating cavities. By instilling them with effective habits, such as brushing their teeth at least 2 times a day with a fluoride toothpaste like Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection, proper and regular application of fluoride, and regular dental check-ups, Colgate aspires a future wherein majority of the Filipino children are cavity-free by the age of 10.

“As a global brand with deeply rooted partnerships and connections with Filipino families, we are maximizing our platform and resources to shift the country’s focus on the ongoing health crisis while encouraging a collective movement to address the problem of cavities, especially among children. Through our BSBF program and Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection, we are given the opportunity to reach the entire Philippines and give each child a chance for a brighter future to smile about. Colgate is more than just an oral health brand—we are the country’s partner in working towards our goal of achieving a cavity-free Philippines,” says Anish Agarwal, Senior Marketing Director, Colgate Palmolive Philippines Inc.

Throughout the nation, BSBF has orchestrated toothbrushing drills led by dental professionals for school children. During these sessions, the children receive Colgate toothpaste and toothbrushes while learning the correct brushing techniques.

Additionally, BSBF conducts interactive and enjoyable educational sessions on oral health, utilizing creative storytelling tools and demonstrations like puppet shows that leave a lasting impression on the children. Complementing these are activities such as fluoride application and other fun educational activities that engage the children, their teachers, and families.

To better understand this silent health crisis and how to prevent it, watch Colgate’s Missing Smiles video through this link, a short but moving story capturing how cavities can deeply affect children’s lives if they do not get the immediate help they need.