Vodafone Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson is the face of this year's National Oral Health Day.
The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) has dedicated tomorrow - Friday, November 7 - as National Oral Health Day with Johnson on board as the campaign's ambassador.
It says the aim of the day is to raise awareness of the importance of oral health in New Zealand through education, advocacy and access to oral care.
The theme for 2014 National Oral Health Day is 'Dental Fitness'. The theme highlights the importance of being dentally fit to maintain physical fitness.
Johnson understands the importance of being dentally fit to stay healthy and maintain the level of fitness required for a professional rugby league player.
“It is really easy to let our dental health slip," he said.
"Most of us know to brush twice daily to keep our teeth clean. But there are other things like flossing and regular dental check-ups that are important, too.”
As a role model for thousands of young New Zealanders Johnson is particularly keen to get the dental fitness message across to them.
"We cannot stay fit without having a good set of teeth. Neglecting our teeth will not help," he said.
"Daily care, healthy diet and regular check-ups are important to keep them in perfect condition.
“Then, of course, having a healthy smile adds so much to your appearance!”
The New Zealand Dental Association is committed to promoting oral health and reducing the impact of oral diseases on general health.
“As dentists we would rather prevent dental disease than try and repair the damage it causes," said NZDA chief executive officer Dr David Crum.
"Most dental diseases are preventable but some kiwis still experience high levels of oral disease. This day is the perfect opportunity for us, as dental professionals, to raise public awareness about prevention.
"Around two hundred dental practices from throughout New Zealand are taking part in this day to educate and create awareness about oral health”.
As part of the National Oral Health Day celebrations the NZDA is also running three promotions on its consumer Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nzdahealthysmiles.
Dental fitness campaign key messages are:
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Have a healthy diet
- Visit your dentist regularly
- Stop smoking