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Striving to Make India Free from Tooth Decay

Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited, the market leader in oral care, in association with the Indian Dental Association (IDA) today announced that September’06 will be// observed as Oral Health Month. Now in its third year, Oral Health Month (OHM) is an intensive month-long oral health awareness campaign in India to establish and promote the importance of good oral health habits for all ages. This year, the theme of Oral Health Month is “Towards Zero Tooth Decay”.

Oral Health Month 2006 will include outreach events taking place across 102 cities, up from 50 cities in 2005. These include free public dental check-ups, oral education in schools, consumer activities that enhance awareness about oral hygiene and dental mobile vans to provide dental education and free dental check-ups in underprivileged areas in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. Colgate will distribute educational material which has tips for maintaining good oral hygiene.

Announcing Oral Health Month 2006, Mr. Roger D Calmeyer, Managing Director, Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited said, “Improving the oral health of the people in general has been a guiding principle at Colgate for generations. In 2006, we have taken what has been a tremendous success and virtually doubled our target of educating people about the benefits of good oral hygiene. By simply following a regular regimen of oral hygiene and periodic dental check-ups, people can enjoy a much healthier lifestyle. We are grateful for the support from the dental profession in ensuring that we are spreading the message and providing people from all sections of the economy with the opportunity for free dental check-ups and advice.”

A recent Colgate Usage and Attitude survey, showed that 60% of people surveyed have never visited a dentist, over 50% are not concerned about preventing or curing dental problems, almost 30% do not use any oral care product, 75% of toothpaste users brush only once a day and over 50% of r ural India does not use a toothbrush to clean teeth. This problem is reflected in the status of oral health in India -- more than 60% of 15 year olds and 80% among 35 years & above, have dental problems.

Mr. Vinay Hegde, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited said, “The primary reason for this startling feedback from our survey is lack of awareness. Through our concentrated efforts during the Oral Health Month, we want to empower people with the right knowledge so that they are motivated to give oral health adequate attention. At any time in your life from 5 years to 70 years old, it is never too late to improve the health of your teeth. This is why throughout Oral Health Month this year, we will be organizing free public dental check ups, offering free advice and distributing free Colgate samples, encouraging people to look after their teeth whatever their age and providing simple steps that everyone can use to fight the risk of dental decay.”

Free Dental Check-Ups in 102 cities.

While Oral Health Month 2004 saw free dental check-ups being conducted in 6 cities, OHM 2005 mobilized over 3,600 dentists to expand this to 50 cities. In 2006, Colgate and IDA have scaled up their reach with approximately 5,000 dentists across 102 cities. The free dental check-ups will be held at the clinics of the dentists in each of the 102 cities, to allow maximum number of people to avail the offer. Information leaflets will be given at select local retail outlets to enable shoppers to call their local dentist and set up an appointment. The leaflets will contain details of dental clinics in their vicinity.

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