Sunstar Inc. in Japan held its 6th “Mouth & Body” Press Seminar on June 1, 2010, at the prestigious Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. The theme of this Press Seminar was “The Deep Relationship between Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis.” The seminar was aimed at introducing to the media the newest information about the basic strategic direction of Sunstar’s Mouth & Body Care business segment. Sunstar is firmly commited to furthering research and development that clarifies the relationship between oral health and systemic diseases and this commitment is leading to specific research and development of new products based on these basic confirmed research findings.
About 70 reporters from leading newspapers, magazines and oral care-related industry publications attended the Press Seminar, the largest such Press Seminar turnout ever. The number of reporters who attended is a reflection of the growing media interest in the relationship of oral health and the health of the entire body.
The Press Seminar was timed to be held just before Dental Hygiene Week in Japan, which began on June 4, a period during which many dental-related topics tend to get picked up by the mass media. On the day after the seminar, numerous media articles generated as a result of the Press Seminar were published in such papers as the Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (Japan Industrial Journal), Senzai Nichiyouhin Shinpo (Daily Products News) and Nihon Shika Shimbun (Japan Dental News).
In the first part of the Press Seminar, two of Japan’s leading researchers in the fields of periodontology and dental hygiene gave lectures presenting the latest research findings on the importance of the relationship between periodontal disease and systemic health. One of the key subjects presented was an analysis of the research pointing to links between osteoporosis, which post-menopausal women are particularly at high risk of developing, and periodontal disease. This research avenue was promoted based on the fact that periodontal disease is also a disease of the bone that supports the teeth.
First, Prof Toshihide Noguchi, Dean of the School of Dentistry of Aichi Gakuin University, gave a lecture on “The Relationship of Periodontal Disease and the Health of the Entire Body.” He explained in an easy-to-understand manner the mechanism of how periodontal disease affects the systemic health of people. He meaningfully classified health risks into external factors and internal factors.
Particularly with regard to the relationship of diabetes and periodontal disease, in addition to discussing the affects of diabetes on periodontal disease, he also informed the reporters present of the fact that periodontal disease is now included as the sixth complication of diabetes in the Diabetes Treatment Guide put out by the Japan Diabetes Society.
Then, Prof. Koji Inagaki of the Department of Dental Hygiene of Aichi Gakuin University Junior College made a presentation on the subject of The Relationship between Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis.” He emphasized the possibility that when a reduction of alveolar bone mass is connected with the presence of osteoporosis and periodontal infection, the degree of periodontal disease becomes greater. His research indicates that when one has osteoporosis, there is a tendency for alveolar bone loss to progress, the depth of periodontal pockets to become deeper and the hemorrhaging rate of the gums to become greater. He also stated that by controlling periodontal disease through aggressive periodontal treatment, even if a patient’s osteoporosis is not treated, there is a tendency for the 2-4 lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) to be maintained.
In the second part of the press seminar, Eiichi Shirakawa, general manager of Product Development of the Oral Care Business Department, made a presentation in which he explained Sunstar’s basic approach to Mouth & Body Care. He said conventional oral-care products alone, which are applied externally, are insufficient for the treatment of periodontal disease, and it is necessary to have “care from within the body.” He went on to point out that it is important going forward for Sunstar to convey the latest and most accurate information about oral health and systemic health throughout the dental community and at various related academic conferences and that Sunstar supplies products that offer the most effective approaches with regard to oral care.
Following Mr. Shirakawa’s talk, Yasumitsu Shimizu of the R&D New Products Development Group introduced “G･U･M Oral Health Tablet, Calcium & Isoflavone” as an important new product developed as a part of the G･U･M series of products that help effectively fight periodontal disease. He explained the successful process by which Sunstar obtained the approval of the appropriate Japanese government authorities to market this new product as Food for Specified Health Use (FOSHU), in this case as an effective product in one’s diet for the preservation of the gum and bone health of women at menopause. This new product has been shown to have a favorable effect on bone loss in post-menopausal women with lower bone mass.
Lastly, General Manager Eiji Tanaka of Sunstar’s Marketing Department delivered a talk on the theme of Sunstar’s present and future strategies for the G·U·M brand, in which he thoroughly analyzed the situation of the Japanese oral-care market, and explained initiatives aimed at reducing the gap between the incidence of periodontal disease and the rate of the awareness of people about its symptoms.
Aiming to establish new growth areas in the oral-care business, he said he would promote targeted strategies that focus on the relationship of periodontal disease and the health condition of the entire body and also product development focused on the relationship of systemic health and risks of periodontal disease. At the end of the Press Seminar, while showcasing new CMs for Sunstar’s products, he impressed upon the attendees the fact that one way the G･U･M brand aims to increase its share of the oral-care market is by continuing to practice an education-oriented public communication focusing on the relationship of periodontal disease and the health of the entire body.
During the Q-and-A session after the seminar, there were many good questions from the attendees, which was an indication of their high level of interest in the contents of the seminar. Even after the end of seminar, many reporters remained in the hall to ask individual questions and talk directly with the lecturers.
Public Relations Department