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.
Sunstar Foundation (leading the educational activities)
Driving awareness of oral frailty prevention to help extend healthy life spans (Japan)
Sunstar is working to raise awareness about the prevention of oral frailty, a condition that occurs when decreased functioning of the mouth accelerates overall physical deterioration. We sent dental hygienists from the Sunstar Foundation to host seminars, worked with the Japan Dental Association to conduct TV-broadcast public lectures, and held public seminars in collaboration with Osaka Medical College and Takatsuki City, in order to promote the importance of maintaining oral health which ensures peoples’ ability to eat healthy, thus extending their life spans.
Early advocacy and awareness-raising about the connection between gum disease and diabetes (Global)
To help prevent diabetes and raise awareness about the connection between gum disease and diabetes, we run the Joslin-Sunstar Diabetes Education Initiative (JSDEI Seminars), a joint initiative with the Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School. This program has been held on 21 occasions so far, attended by more than 7,400 specialists in the fields of medicine and dentistry from across the world. In addition, we have also dispatched 14 young researchers in the fields of medicine and dentistry to the Joslin Diabetes Center through the Kaneda Hiroo Research Grant Fund. As such, we are working actively to support research related to gum disease and diabetes, as well as nurture human resources engaged in research in these fields.
Presenting World Dental Hygienist Award (Global)
In August 2019, the 21st International Symposium on Dental Hygiene (ISDH 2019) was held in Brisbane, Australia, and the Sunstar Foundation hosted a presentation session and gala dinner for the presentation of the 5th World Dental Hygienist Award. These awards are organized by the Sunstar Foundation and supported by the International Symposium on Dental Hygiene (ISDH) every three years to recognize dental hygienists who have made significant contributions in the field and to society.
Bringing the dental hygienist’s skills in Japan to nurses in Asia (Asia, Japan)
Sunstar has been working to introduce the dental hygienist’s skills in Japan to nurses in several countries in Asia, who work in dental medicine in medical institutions that do not have dedicated dental hygienists. In FY2019, we provided education on professional dental hygiene techniques to students at health and welfare universities in Thailand. We also sent dental hygienists to medical schools and dental schools in Taiwan to conduct professional lectures on oral care for specific groups such as cancer patients or the elderly.
Awareness-raising about the importance of oral care in times of disaster and related support (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 die of 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 liquid toothpaste that can be used without water, and toothbrushes. Following the earthquakes that struck Kumamoto in 2016, we 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 stepped up efforts to promote oral care as part of disaster prevention by developing “GUM Dental Rinse for Long-term Storage,” a liquid toothpaste with a shelf life of five years to be included in people’s emergency kits for times of disaster.