Activities to Promote Oral and Overall Health Awareness

Policy and Approach

The Sunstar Group has long advocated the notion that good oral health is important for maintaining good overall health and continues to team up with experts in medical and dental fields to raise awareness.

Major Initiatives

Driving awareness of oral frailty prevention to help extend healthy life spans (Japan)

We are working to raise awareness of the prevention of oral frailty, the deterioration of the mouth’s function that accelerates overall frailty. The Sunstar Foundation dispatches dental hygienists to give lectures at seminars and works with the Japan Dental Association to hold lectures for the public. We also offer free smartphone apps aimed at preventing oral frailty. Through these efforts, we have raised awareness of the importance of maintaining an edible mouth for extending healthy life expectancy.

Oral Health Symposium , Japan Dental Association

Support for pioneering periodontal disease research

The Sunstar Foundation supports the advancement of periodontal research, presenting awards for pioneering research by associations in Japan, the U.S., and Europe. These awards include the World Perio Research Awards (presented by the European Federation of Periodontology), the Perio Link Awards, the Japanese Society of Periodontology Awards, the American Academy of Periodontology Sunstar Innovation Grant.

Since the 1990s, the Sunstar has been holding international symposia regarding the connection between periodontal disease and diabetes. Since 2008, we have been collaborating with Joslin Diabetes Center, which is affiliated with Harvard University, in holding a total of 21 international symposia around the world, attended by over 7,400 medical and dental professionals. Furthermore, we are striving to develop researchers investigating the relationship between oral and general health. We have dispatched 14 young medical and dental researchers to the Joslin Diabetes Center and other organizations through the Hiroo Kaneda Research Grant. Sunstar group companies are also holding a variety of events in countries around the world to raise awareness among dentists, physicians, diabetes patients, and others of the link between periodontal disease and diabetes.

Supporting the activities of dental hygienists worldwide (global)

Sunstar group present awards to dental hygienists in recognition of their exceptional achievements. The Sunstar Foundation provide the SUNSTAR World Dental Hygienist Award presented, presented at the International Symposium on Dental Hygiene (ISDH), and Sunstar Americas and RDH magazine jointly present the Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction in North America. In some Asian countries, in which dental hygienist is not a specific profession, we provide lectures of the duties and techniques of Japanese dental hygienists to nurses and students that provide dental care in medical facilities.

Donation of Toothbrushes to Developing Countries through the World Health Organization (Global)

The Sunstar Foundation supports the World Health Organization (WHO) in its efforts to collect and analyze survey data on the oral health status of countries and formulate policies for dental health measures. In addition, the Sunstar Group has continued to donate toothbrushes to developing countries in cooperation with the WHO since 2002. The total number of toothbrushes donated to each developing country through our activities to date is more than 1 million. The photo shows an example of 25,000 toothbrushes donated to the Republic of Palau in 2018, which were used to teach brushing to elementary school students.

In 2023 we participated in an oral health awareness campaign in the Republic of Palau. We have donated around 120,000 toothbrushes that will be distributed along with dental care instruction to all elementary schools in Palau, and we will also help evaluate the outcome of this campaign and the efficiency of maintaining a consistent oral care routine. In addition, as part of our support for international health activities led by Japanese students, we donated toothbrushes to use in oral health instruction for primary school students in Cambodia.

Donation of oral care products as emergency support during a crisis (Global)

As emergency support for refugees in Ukraine and surrounding countries, we supplied more than 80,000 products, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental rinses, through the Polish Red Cross Society in Warsaw, and helped pass on the importance of oral care in maintaining overall physical health while being evacuated. In addition, to support Lebanon after the massive explosion at the Port of Beirut in 2020, we supplied 120,000 toothbrushes to local elementary schools and kindergartens, pediatric cancer facilities, medical universities, and medical institutions, providing help for oral hygiene instruction.

Raising awareness of the importance of oral care during disasters and support activities (Japan)

Following a major disaster, water shortages make it difficult for people to brush their teeth and people’s oral hygiene tends to suffer. This leads to an increase in the number of elderly people who pass away due to aspiration pneumonia while living in evacuation shelters. Many Sunstar employees were affected by the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. Drawing on this experience following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and onward, we have been raising awareness on the importance of oral care during times of disaster, and have provided oral care products as relief supplies, including toothbrushes and liquid toothpaste that can be used without water. In the aftermath of the Kumamoto earthquakes in 2016, Sunstar provided relief supplies and also created and supplied posters for display at evacuation sites containing tips on proper oral care. These posters continue to be used at evacuation sites during emergencies. In addition, we have developed “GUM Dental Rinse for Long-term Storage,” a liquid-type toothpaste with a shelf life of five years, which is being chosen by local governments and companies for emergency supplies in disasters.

Lately, there are various options of evacuation, including evacuating at home. We have updated our family emergency kit and food lists on our website to help people prepare according to their evacuation options. We continue to make efforts to raise awareness of the importance of oral care during disasters.