Self-Care (Self-Implemented Preventive Dentistry)
- Promoting After-Lunch Tooth Brushing
- Promoting the Use of Dental Floss
- Promotion of Periodic Toothbrush Replacement and Recycling
- Using Digital Technology to Make Oral Conditions Easier to Understand
- Educational Activities to Promote Self-Care at Specific Life Stages
- Developing Oral Healthcare Leaders
Even if you take care to brush your teeth carefully, without the proper knowledge and techniques, you can still end up leaving plaque behind. Establishing daily self-care habits in line with the principles of preventive dentistry is key to effectively managing and maintaining oral health.
The Lion Group is implementing a range of initiatives targeting specific life stages to promote brushing techniques that effectively remove plaque along with new habits that help foster awareness of preventive dentistry based on an understanding of one’s own oral conditions.
Promoting After-Lunch Tooth Brushing
Lion is advancing initiatives to promote after-lunch tooth brushing, aiming to help establish the habit of brushing three times a day.
With more women entering the workforce, the employed population in Japan has been steadily rising. Today, approximately 60% of those over the age of 15 are employed (Fiscal 2018 Labour Force Survey, Japan Statistics Bureau). While many consumers spend their afternoons in the workplace, only 40% of workers in offices and similar environments report regularly brushing their teeth after lunch, while another 22% report wanting to but not actually doing so (Lion survey).
To address the needs of working people, Lion launched MIGACOT, an oral care set designed for tooth brushing at the office that includes a cup. Brushing after lunch has been found to correlate with developing fewer cavities. Lion is promoting this product along with educational activities to spread the mindset that brushing one’s teeth after lunch is a normal part of the workday among as many people as possible.
Promoting the Use of Dental Floss
Under the theme "Taking preventive dentistry a step forward," we promote initiatives to communicate the necessity and benefits of preventive dentistry.
Raising Awareness of the Necessity of Using Both a Toothbrush and Dental Floss
One of the key points of effective oral self-care is to completely remove all dental plaque. Only about 60% of the plaque that forms between the teeth can be removed using a toothbrush alone. The combination of toothbrush and dental floss, however, improves plaque removal by 50%.
In addition to providing products for children old enough to floss (those in elementary school and above) and other consumers who may not be used to using dental floss, Lion carries out activities to promote the necessity of using dental floss and correct flossing techniques.*
*Lion holds the Oral Health Event of Tooth Brushing for Children every year to provide a fun opportunity for elementary school students to learn how to use dental floss and brushing techniques suited to the arrangement of their own teeth.
Going forward, we will continue working to foster awareness of the connection between one’s health and actions, focusing on improving living habits, and working to promote understanding of the importance of maintaining good habits.
Promotion of Periodic Toothbrush Replacement and Recycling
Contributing to the SDGs by realizing “Good for the mouth!” and “Good for the Planet!”
Since its founding, Lion has worked to promote healthy oral care habits among consumers. In recent years, marine plastics have become a major social issue. As a leader in oral care and a manufacturer, Lion recognizes that it has a duty to address the issue of plastic recycling. By focusing on toothbrushes, which account for more plastic use than any other Lion product, we are working to contribute to the formation of healthy consumer living habits while helping to reduce environmental impact.
Instituting Toothbrush Replacement Day
Over time, regular use of a toothbrush causes the bristles to splay apart, reducing the brushing efficacy. According to a Lion survey, only about 40% of consumers replace their toothbrushes every month.* Those that do not give such reasons as “It’s wasteful to throw it out,” and “I wasn’t aware that the brushing effectiveness diminishes.”
*Although the exact timing may vary by individual, we generally recommend replacing your toothbrush every month.
In February 2018, we designated the 8th of every month Toothbrush Replacement Day* and started calling for monthly toothbrush replacement.
To expand this program, we are collaborating with business partners by developing in-store point-of-purchase displays to remind consumers to replace their toothbrushes on the 8th of every month and creating posters promoting periodic toothbrush replacement for use in dental clinics.
Lion will continue these activities to promote toothbrush replacement with our business partners and dental clinics so that monthly toothbrush replacement becomes a regular habit.
*This day was registered and certified by the Japan Anniversary Association on December 27, 2017, and has been established as a new annual event.
Promoting Toothbrush Recycling
There is a concern that an increase in the frequency of toothbrush replacement due to the promotion of toothbrush replacement could lead to a rise in waste.
Addressing this concern, and in light of problem of marine plastics in recent years, Lion initiated its Toothbrush Recycling Program,* a first in Asia, to collect and recycle used toothbrushes, which had previously just been thrown away, in cooperation with TerraCycle Japan. Furthermore, in 2020, we launched a toothbrush recycling initiative in coordination with municipal garbage collection operations, a first in Japan. Adopting the perspective that each consumer who participates in toothbrush recycling is an important partner, we are moving forward with the aim of realizing a resource-circulating society.
Using Digital Technology to Make Oral Conditions Easier to Understand
Gum Checking Tool HAGUKI CHECKER
Aiming to increase awareness of preventive dentistry, in 2019, we launched HAGUKI CHECKER,*1 an online tool that checks the state of users’ teeth and gums. Users simply use a smartphone or other device to take photos of the inside of their mouths, including the teeth and gums, and upload them to HAGUKI CHECKER. The online service then uses AI to identify individual teeth and check the state of the gums around each. Since its launch, approximately 16,000 people*2 have used the service.
By helping consumers see and understand their own oral environments, HAGUKI CHECKER sparks greater interest in the state of their gums. Periodic use over time can help consumers see the effects of changes in their oral care habits by for example, making changes to their gums more readily apparent.
- *1.Developed based on Lion’s data and expertise, HAGUKI CHECKER was created using the AI image analysis technology of Automagi Inc. and the service development technology of MTI Ltd.
- *2.Figure for July 22, 2019 to December 26, 2019.
HAGUKI CHECKER provides an analysis of the state of the user’s gums around each tooth, evaluating the following three factors on a three-point scale.
- Gum recession
- Gum dullness
- Gum fullness
The service also provides information about care methods, oral care products and other aspects of oral care in line with the analysis results.
Bad-Breath Care Support App RePERO
Lion launched RePERO,* a bad-breath care support app, on a pilot basis. A new kind of bad-breath prevention habit, RePERO is aimed at increasing awareness and foster communication related to oral health. Users first take a picture of their tongue with a smartphone. Tongue color and other factors are then comprehensively analyzed by AI, based on the accumulated data from Lion’s bad-breath research, to evaluate the user’s risk of bad breath on a five-point scale.
Effective bad-breath care requires first an awareness of the condition, and then the formation of good oral care habits. Making the risk of bad breath easy to see makes it possible to take appropriate action, potentially decreasing unease over bad breath in interpersonal interactions and relationships.
In this way, Lion is helping foster active communication in fields as diverse as hospitality and business as well as within relationships between parent and child or grandparent and grandchild, thereby contributing to happier, more fulfilled living.
The results of the analysis of the user’s bad-breath risk are displayed on a five-point scale, and users can check the results of the past five times they used the service. The service also offers information about proper toothbrushing methods and other topics.
*The app was developed based on Lion’s data, with AI utilization support from AI vendor Fujitsu Cloud Technologies Co., Ltd., and the services of MTI Co., Ltd., which develops healthcare related applications.
Educational Activities to Promote Self-Care at Specific Life Stages
Daily oral care is an important habit that affects lifelong health. Forming healthy oral care habits from a young age is crucial. Lion aims to help enhance overall health and longer healthy life expectancy through oral healthcare at all life stages, from newborns to adults and the elderly. Working in cooperation with external organizations, including government bodies, schools, hospitals and dental clinics, Lion is advancing initiatives to help spread and firmly establish healthy oral care habits appropriate to the needs of specific life stages. In addition, Lion supports the oral healthcare promotion activities of The Lion Foundation for Dental Health (LDH).
- *Established in 1964, the Lion Foundation for Dentistry Health (LDH) changed its status to a public interest incorporated foundation in 2010. Lion fully supports LDH’s activities to promote oral health awareness and education. LDH coordinates with the Japan Dental Association, universities, governmental bodies and other partners to help maintain and improve the dental and oral health of consumers through its three projects. By doing so, LDH stays at the forefront of oral health, contributing to society by helping to improve the quality of life of all people.
Lion runs the dentistry information website ORALcom, where it offers answers to common questions about issues related to the oral health of expectant mothers and infants.
Promoting Preventive Dentistry from Age 0
Lion aims to help establish preventive dentistry habits from as early in a child’s life as possible. To this end, Lion developed the Safety Handle Toothbrush, which enables preventive dentistry from age 0. We believe that time spent on parent-assisted brushing is a valuable opportunity for deepening parent-child bonds. To spread this idea, we are providing information through videos designed to spread empathy and the website “HA!HA!HA! Park,” which encourages preventive dentistry efforts for children. We also distribute a booklet titled “Preventive Dentistry from Age 0” to dental and obstetrics clinics across the country, aiming to help caregivers obtain the correct knowledge they need.
Oral health promotion for mothers and children
Childcare support programs in the area of dental and oral health for expectant mothers and infants, preschoolers and their guardians.
Participants: 1,435 infants and preschoolers; 177 guardians
Cumulative participants: 1,150,000
Elementary school students
The Oral Health Event of Tooth Brushing for Children—Reaching a Cumulative Total of More Than 1,960,000 Children in and Outside Japan
The Oral Health Event of Tooth Brushing for Children, started in 1932, is held every year for elementary school students during Dental/Oral Health Week (June 4th to 10th).
For the 77th event in 2020, participating schools chose a date to participate and took part by watching a 40-minute educational DVD. Approximately 270,000 elementary school students attending a total of 4,722 schools participated in 2020, including students in Japan and around the world. The theme of the 2020 event was “Brush Up Your Teeth and Yourself.” Prepared with editorial supervision from Meikai University President Toshikazu Yasui, the program focused on the gums, including hands-on practice brushing in line with individual oral conditions and using dental floss. In addition to promoting understanding of preventive dentistry, the program taught students about the importance of consistency through oral care, a central part of healthy living habits.
Cumulative participants: 1,960,000
The Oral Health Event of Tooth Brushing for Children in Japan and other countries
Lion has provided dental clinic-themed pavilions at KidZania Tokyo since 2006 and at KidZania Koshien since 2009. These pavilions have been popular with kids. At them, children can choose from two activities: the “Dentist” experience or the “Dental Hygienist” experience. These allow them to experience what it is like to work in these jobs.
At the pavilions, kids first undergo “training” as dentists or dental hygienists, learning about the importance of teeth taking care of their own oral health and hygiene. Then, they use tools that are nearly identical to the real things, including polishers and dental vacuums, to treat cavities and apply fluoride treatments to patients (training mannequins used in dentistry schools) in the dentist’s chair. For completing their work, they receive a salary paid in the official currency of KidZania, usable at other pavilions.
After their work experience, kids have commented that “treating cavities seemed really difficult,” and “adult teeth don’t grow back, so I definitely want to brush well and make sure I don’t get any cavities.” The dental clinic pavilions thus appear to be effective in communicating the importance of cavity prevention and oral health.
Oral health promotion for schoolchildren
Face-to-face educational activities with schoolchildren and their guardians and support for the activities of health instructors.
Participants: 6,315 schoolchildren 854 health instructors (2019)
Cumulative participant: 23,285,000
Junior high and high school students
Activities to promote the formation of flossing habits among junior high and high school students.
Promoting “KamiKami GokuGoku” mouth exercises to maintain and improve eating and drinking abilities.
The functions of the mouth (oral functions), such as eating, speaking and smiling, play a crucial role in everyday living. Over the course of a lifetime, however, these functions often deteriorate before the person in question even notices, so regularly maintaining and strengthening them is important. For children, incomplete oral function development can lead to a host of issues and difficulties. To help people across a wide range of life stages, from children to adults, boost their ability to eat and drink and thus enjoy healthier lives, LDH developed “KamiKami GokuGoku” mouth exercises in 2019 that it is using in educational activities.
These activities are being carried out not just for adults, but for elementary, junior high and high school students, and the elderly.
Oral health promotion for adults (in industry)
Instruction focused on the prevention of a gum disease and on the maintenance and improvement of dental and oral health for employees of various companies.
Participants: 15,212 (2019)
Cumulative participants: 2,122,000
Oral health promotion for the elderly (from 2007)
Provision of support to help maintain oral functions so that participants can eat with their own teeth and mouth long into the future.
Participants: 66,042 (2019)
Cumulative participants: 186,000
Developing Oral Healthcare Leaders
Lion seeks to promote preventive dentistry practices that consumers can perform themselves.
To this end, in communities with which we have formed partnerships, we hold oral healthcare leader development lectures to empower local governments, as oral healthcare leaders, to provide residents with tooth brushing information and practical techniques that can be beneficial to overall health. We are currently carrying out these activities in the cities of Ishinomaki and Sakaide.