Glasgow Still Smiles Better: The Big Smile


It has been over a decade since the BBC announced “Glasgow Smiles Better”. In a Comic Relief study it was shown of Scottish cities that Glasgow was ahead in the “smiles per hour census”. Now here in Glasgow we want to stamp our mark on another smile milestone. On the afternoon of Friday 9 June 2017, we will gather over 1000 people in a mass participation art project to set a Guinness World Record by creating the shape of a big smile at the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre in Glasgow. In the largest mass participation event of its kind, University of Glasgow Dental School staff, students and alumni, Glasgow area schoolchildren and teachers and staff from local dental practices will create the World’s biggest smile.

You may be asking whether this is just being held to put a smile on peoples’ faces? The answer is no. There is a much more serious aim underpinning this event – the promotion of an Oral Health improvement message and the celebration of the successes we have seen here in Scotland, especially in the excellent progress made in the oral health of children. As stated in Scotland’s Oral Health Plan, a recent Scottish Government Consultation Exercise on the Future of Oral Health Services, “Dental decay is almost always entirely preventable, and by ensuring good oral health in children, we help safeguard the oral health of the future adult population”. The Big Smile Big Band event will be taking place during National Smile Month a UK-wide event that has been organised annually since 1977 by the health charity the Oral Health Foundation.

The Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre as a major sponsor for the event is providing both the venue and manpower to support the event. In true Glaswegian style, this will be a fun packed event. The members of the Glasgow Oral Health Improvement Student Society will provide lively interactive Oral Health Promotion sessions for the school pupils in attendance. Live music will be provided by the Glasgow Dental School Big Band. Band leader and University of Glasgow Dental Alumnus Callum Wemyss has brought together over twenty musicians and singers to put on a musical spectacular during the attempt and in the hours following the record attempt. One of the pieces that will be performed is an original. As part of world leading Childsmile campaign NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Glasgow have invited primary school pupils from Glasgow Schools to take part in the “Sparkling Star Award”. The competition invites pupils to write a song to accompany tooth brushing, raising awareness of good oral health habits and the profile of school tooth brushing programmes. The winning song will be put to music and performed by the school children at the Big Smile Big Band event.

So the challenge has been set! News of the event is spreading and excitement is building. You may have seen the Final Year Students promoting the event at the recent FGDP study day at the Science Centre. Are you ready to do some Record Breaking, and some Smile Making? Put a date in the diary for Friday 9 June 2017 and sign-up.