Colgate-Palmolive Company, the worldwide leader in oral care, has announced it is launching a public health initiative to empower people to Know Your OQ: to understand—and improve—their oral health quotient. Just as people may know their IQ or EQ, which measure cognitive and emotional intelligence, Colgate wants people to know their oral health quotient and understand the links between oral health and overall health and wellbeing. In total, the company will commit more than $100 million over the next five years to address a global health crisis affecting nearly half the world’s population and ensure oral health is incorporated into broader public health strategies.
“As the worldwide leader in oral care and with our trusted Colgate brand in more homes than any other, Colgate-Palmolive has the opportunity to address a global health crisis that has far-reaching and significant impacts,” said Noel Wallace, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We’ve got the team, the partners, the innovations and the motivation to reimagine a healthier future for all.”
At www.KnowYourOQ.com, people can take a free, interactive assessment to determine their OQ score. The website also includes compelling information about the depth and breadth of the global oral health crisis and provides educational resources for primary care physicians, nurses and educational leaders as well as consumers to improve oral hygiene, encourage healthier habits and promote overall systemic health.
“Research has consistently shown that oral health is a window to overall health, yet oral health literacy is very low,” said Maria Ryan, DDS, PhD, Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at Colgate-Palmolive. “That’s why we’re on a mission to help people increase their oral health knowledge with: Know Your OQ™. If we all understand the importance of oral health and embrace simple, proven preventative strategies, we can help decrease risk for oral diseases and empower people worldwide to join in the fight against oral diseases that impact overall health and well being.”
Oral health is often overlooked, even though an estimated 3.5 billion people currently suffer from oral diseases. Despite there being proven strategies for prevention, cavities remain the most prevalent chronic disease among adults and children, and it is estimated that 2.3 billion people suffer from tooth decay.
Periodontal disease is among humanity’s most common ailments, with severe gum diseases, which may result in tooth loss, affecting 10% of the global population. The crisis of oral disease has significant consequences, since oral health has impacts for physical health and emotional wellbeing: research shows that oral health is linked to other physical health conditions, and a global Colgate study found that childhood cavities lead to worry, anxiety and sadness in both kids and their parents.
“Studies show there are links, between chronic infections and inflammation, and medical conditions like cardiovascular disease and stroke, with common oral diseases being identified as contributors to increased risk for a number of systemic disorders. The mouth is a source of bacteria and inflammation impacting overall health,” said Nieca Goldberg, MD, nationally recognized pioneer in women’s heart health, cardiologist and Medical Director of Atria New York City. “It’s critical that the medical community consider the importance of oral health to provide the best care for our patients.”
It is more urgent than ever to Know Your OQ: to understand the links between oral health and overall health, and to maintain proper oral hygiene. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on oral care habits.
A study published in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry found that the frequency of toothbrushing, use of dental services, and self-perceived need for dental treatment significantly decreased among adolescents during the pandemic. And although the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, a recent OnePoll survey found that 22 percent of adults in the UK now go more than three days without brushing their teeth.
The need for improved oral health literacy is clear: the same survey found that more than a quarter of adults do not think that poor oral health could lead to wider health complications.
In addition to Know Your OQ, Colgate’s efforts include groundbreaking research studies, a new accelerator challenge with Enactus, product innovation and advancements in connected health technology, and scholarships that support diversity within the dental profession.
DO YOU KNOW YOUR OQ?: Colgate-Palmolive’s Leadership in Promoting Oral Health
Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures
Established in 1991, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF) has reached more than 1.4 billion children in more than 100 countries across the world. The program strategically partners to reach underserved children and their families where they are born, live, work, learn, play, and pray. BSBF promotes health equity, optimal health and wellbeing, and leads global social impact efforts that empower children and families to achieve healthy and bright futures.
Advancements in Oral Health Research
Colgate is planning a new study for later this year to assess whether implementing a connected health technology program in schools can overcome the barriers to effective brushing and improve oral health literacy.
Developing a partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina, Colgate would provide approximately 250 students 9-12 years old from rural and underserved communities with a hum by Colgate smart toothbrush and Colgate toothpaste to take home. The hum by Colgate App will notify participating students to brush, educate them about oral health, and track changes in brushing behavior over three months.
Colgate launched a groundbreaking study with Verily, an Alphabet company, to advance the understanding of the connection between oral health and overall health. The study’s goal is to see how oral health practices, including intensive non-surgical periodontal therapy, as well as a robust Colgate home oral hygiene regimen monitored through its hum smart toothbrush connected technologies, affect health more broadly.
The study has enrolled participants in Verily’s ongoing Baseline Health Study, ages 18 and older, with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease for up to 18 months, in order to expand the understanding of the interrelation between oral health, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Colgate recently conducted global research that revealed the harmful impact of dental cavities on children and their parents. In a study of more than 20,000 parents across 12 countries, Colgate found childhood cavities are the source of significant physical, emotional, social, and economic consequences, drawing another link between oral health and overall wellbeing.
Know Your OQ Assessment
Colgate-Palmolive today launched www.KnowYourOQ.com, a new oral health resource that provides key information about the crisis of oral disease, tips for how to improve your oral health, and a free, interactive assessment to determine your oral health quotient.
By finding out your OQ score, people around the world have the opportunity to understand the connection between oral health and overall health, and learn proven, preventive strategies to take care of their mouths for a brighter, healthier future.
Go to www.KnowYourOQ.com to take Colgate’s free, interactive assessment to promote your healthier future: discover your OQ score, and learn more about the links between oral health and overall health & wellbeing.
KnowYourOQ.com builds on another educational resource by Colgate: Colgate’s Oral Care Center, which is the world’s #1 branded online oral health resource.
Scholarship and Fellowship Programs
Colgate supports multiple scholarship and fellowship programs to increase diversity within the dental profession and empower the next generation of dental professionals. Colgate recently launched the “Audacity to Dream” scholarship program with the National Dental Association Foundation and partnered with the Harvard School of Dental Medicine to create an endowed scholarship for underrepresented minority students.
Colgate also launched the Trailblazers in Oral Health Research Scholars of African-American Heritage (TORCH) program this year to attract and develop young researchers of African heritage with the goal to increase representation and participation in oral health research both in academia and industry.
To empower people to improve their brushing habits, Colgate develops innovative connected health products like hum by Colgate, which is clinically proven to increase brushing efficacy for a cleaner smile.
The new hum by Colgate Smart Rhythm Sonic toothbrush leverages smart tracking technology developed in-house, and is offered at an accessible price point in order to democratize connected health technology and reimagine a healthier future for all.
The hum by Colgate Smart Rhythm Sonic toothbrush was recently selected as a CES® 2022 Innovation Awards Honoree by the Consumer Technology Association, awarded for its innovation, engineering and functionality, aesthetic and design.
The hum by Colgate line also includes a smart battery-powered version for older kids and a manual toothbrush with augmented reality for younger kids to help them develop healthy habits at a young age.
Building Healthy Habits
Colgate is initiating a Smile O’Clock campaign to integrate brushing into children’s night-time routines and establish healthy habits.
By partnering with behavioral scientists to build this comprehensive program, Colgate is taking a bold, new insights-driven approach to oral health education, including launching a Smile O’Clock digital learning hub where kids can make a pledge to participate in a 21-day challenge and parents can learn the importance of night brushing for cavity prevention.
Enactus Accelerator Challenge
Colgate-Palmolive is partnering with Enactus, the world’s largest experiential learning platform dedicated to creating a better world while creating the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators, to host a global accelerator challenge in India, United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, and Kenya with the mission to help people Know Your OQ.
University teams within these five regions will compete to develop innovative ideas to educate local communities about the importance of oral health and promote better oral care habits. By tapping emerging leaders to join the movement, Colgate-Palmolive is mobilizing the next generation of leaders to prioritize oral health and raise awareness about this hidden global crisis.
Colgate is mobilizing its 34,000 employees to fulfill the company’s mission and amplify the public health message to their networks: Know Your OQ. By activating its employees to drive awareness about oral health, Colgate is building upon its successful #SafeHands campaign, which tapped employees to support the World Health Organization’s effort to create greater awareness for proper hand washing to stop the spread of COVID-19, plus launched a global matching gift program for all Colgate employees to support nonprofit partners’ relief efforts.
Colgate-Palmolive Company is a caring, innovative growth company reimagining a healthier future for all people, their pets and our planet. Focused on Oral Care, Personal Care, Home Care and Pet Nutrition, the Company sells its products in more than 200 countries and territories under brands such as Colgate, Palmolive, elmex, hello, meridol, Sorriso, Tom’s of Maine, EltaMD, Filorga, Irish Spring, PCA Skin, Protex, Sanex, Softsoap, Speed Stick, Ajax, Axion, Fabuloso, Soupline and Suavitel, as well as Hill’s Science Diet and Hill’s Prescription Diet.
Colgate-Palmolive is recognized for its leadership and innovation in promoting sustainability and community wellbeing, including its achievements decreasing plastic waste, saving water, reducing waste, promoting recyclability, conserving natural resources and improving children’s oral health through its Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program, which has reached more than 1.4 billion children since 1991.
For more information about Colgate’s global business and how the Company is building a future to smile about, visit www.colgatepalmolive.com.
FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Lesly Juarez on Unsplash.