On your marks, get set, engage!
For a dental practice to be successful, engagement with the local community is key. It could involve participating in local events, supporting town activities or forming partnerships with other businesses. For example, you could take a stall at the village fete. You could sponsor the local rugby club or offer members of the local gym free consultations for tooth whitening. Whatever you do, being a part of the community is important.
First of all, it helps the practice promote the importance of oral health to people in the area. It provides opportunities to interact with individuals on a personal basis and start building relationships.
A huge benefit is that people can meet the dental team outside the clinical environment of the practice. Dental fear is a very real problem that affects a significant number of the UK population. It could cause some people with more serious anxieties to avoid the practice altogether, which will impact their long-term oral health. If they see how friendly the team is, it might encourage them to make an appointment.
Furthermore, by getting involved with various events in the local area, the practice can better market its services. Whether you offer general dentistry, implants or orthodontics, making sure people located near you know about them is essential.
Work hard, play hard
Another way to engage with the community is to work with local schools. There are various ways to arrange this and getting involved for National School Sports Week is a perfect example.
National School Sport Week is held by the Youth Sport Trust and begins today (24th June 2019). It helps schools promote the advantages of physical activity among students by supporting teachers, parents and coaches. It aims to get more kids moving and help the next generation improve their well-being.
The recommended amount of physical activity for kids aged 5-18-years-old is 60 minutes a day, which aids development and maintains a healthy weight. The number of children meeting this target drops by 40% as they move through primary school. This is an issue for various reasons.
A 2017 survey by Public Health England and Disney[i] found that being active made the majority of 5 to 11-year-olds feel happier, more confident and more sociable. There are also many health benefits of exercise for children too, including:[ii],[iii]
• Improved fitness
• Increased concentration
• Stronger heart, bones and muscles
• Improved posture and balance
• Reduced stress
• Better sleep
• Enhanced mental state
• Teaches leadership skills
• Encourages a positive attitude and working in a team.
Why not make the most of this opportunity to engage with schools in your local area? You could run ‘oral health and sport’ educational sessions for children, teachers or parents. Or, you could sponsor one of the school’s sporting events or make a donation.
However you participate, this is a great campaign to advocate for the health and well-being of children. It also enables you to build new relationships within your community, which could last long into the future.
More information on National School Sports Week can be found here.
[i] Gov.uk. health and social care. Public health. Health improvement. Exercise and physical activity. Number of children getting enough physical activity drops by 40%. Click here to visit the website. [Accessed June 2019]
[ii] NHS Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. Conditions and treatments. General health advice. Leading an active lifestyle. Exercise for children and young people. Click here to read the article. [Accessed June 2019]