Sustainability Material Issue 2 Creating Healthy Living Habits
Provide opportunities for everyone to practice oral care whenever necessary and foster oral care habits to promote health for all.
|Indicators (2030)||Total number of Persons provided with products, services and information aimed at creating healthy living habits
Oral care habits: 300 million*
Spreading Awareness of Preventive Dentistry Habits
Putting Preventive Dentistry Habits into Practice
*Source: Lion survey
|Globally Common Measures to 2030||
Promote the establishment of hygienic habits that prevent bacteria and viruses from entering the body across all aspects of daily living.
To date, the Lion Group has worked to establish tooth brushing habits to maintain and improve overall oral health, including the prevention of cavities and gum disease. With the theme of “realizing healthy minds and bodies,” we will strive to evolve the idea of preventive dental habits through self-care that can be done at home as well as professional care through the guidance of dentists and dentistry experts. We will make use of AI and IoT to promote enjoyable preventive dentistry* habits, while also broadening our solutions in other ways to benefit the lives of people. Furthermore, we will work with local governments to promote preventive dentistry habits with people whom we previously have not been able to focus on. By providing people with opportunities to engage in proper oral care, we will realize “Creating healthy living habits.”
* The idea is that preventive dentistry focuses not on waiting to treat cavities until after they form, but preventing them before they can occur.
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 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.
In order to help elementary school-aged children acquire correct and thorough tooth brushing habits in a fun way, Lion has created a tooth brushing song with lyrics about the steps of tooth brushing, videos featuring the song as well as posters with the brushing steps. One of the videos is instructional and teaches children the proper brushing method and steps, and another is a fun animated version for children to watch once they have learned how to brush.
A dental hygienist teaches key points and demonstrates the brushing steps while following along with the song.
*Recommended for children who are still learning how to brush.
This animated video is designed to help children enjoy forming tooth brushing habits.
*Recommended for children who have already learned how to brush.
Art: Yoshitaka Yamada (Yoshida Yamada)
Children can check the steps and key points of tooth brushing with the lyrics on the poster.
Character design: Yoshitaka Yamada (Yoshida Yamada)
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. 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.
Under the theme "Taking preventive dentistry a step forward," we promote initiatives to communicate the necessity and benefits of preventive dentistry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In November 2022, we launched ORAL FIT, a service that proposes the new habit of oral fitness. The aim is to maintain and improve oral fitness to prevent the loss of muscle strength around the mouth, which can lead to choking, difficulty speaking, difficulty chewing, and other problems. This app-based service proposes a two-month program with ten minutes of oral exercise a day to prevent deterioration of and improve oral functions.
In April 2023, we launched the Okuchi-iku oral care program via a dedicated e-commerce site. The aim of the program is to support the development of proper tooth brushing habits and the creation of a strong foundation for straight teeth in line with children’s varying stages of growth. As the first step, we are offering Okuchi-iku Kamotto! for children whose baby teeth are in the process of being replaced by adult teeth, an important period for establishing a foundation for straight teeth. This three-item set includes gummies for daily consumption to develop chewing strength, chewing gum for monthly use to check chewing strength, and an AI app to check teeth alignment via the Okuchi-iku members website.
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 tooth (receding, dullness, swelling). Since its launch, approximately 16,000 people*2 have used the service.
In February 2022, we have signed a comprehensive partnership agreement with Koshi City in Kumamoto Prefecture to provide citizens with opportunities to think about their own oral health by answering a simple questionnaire, either at home or on the go. We plan to use technologies that leverage machine learning to process data on gum conditions from the smart app HAGUKI CHECKER, as well as health checkup data, to visualize participants’ level of oral health.
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, and 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.
The service also provides information about care methods, oral care products and other aspects of oral care in line with the analysis results.HAGUKI CHECKER
Daily oral care is an important habit that affects lifelong health. Forming healthy oral care habits from a young age is crucial. Lion believes that practicing self-care at all life stages is important. In order to firmly establish healthy oral care habits appropriate to the needs of specific life stages, Lion is advancing initiatives in cooperation with external organizations, including government bodies, schools, hospitals and dental clinics. In addition, Lion supports the oral care promotion activities of The Lion Foundation for Dental Health (LDH).
* Established in 1964, the Lion Foundation for Dental Health (LDH) changed its status to a public interest incorporated foundation in 2010. Lion fully supports LDH’s activities to promote oral care 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.
Lion aims to help establish preventive dentistry habits from as early in a child’s life as possible. To this end, in terms of product development, we are enhancing our CLINICA Kid’s series, which enables preventive dentistry from age 0. Samples of CLINICA Kid's Gel Toothpaste are offered at 18-month checkups.
We believe that time spent on parent-assisted brushing is a valuable opportunity for deepening parent-child bonds. Therefore, in terms of making this information more prevalent, we are providing information through the website “HA!HA!HA! Park,” which encourages preventive dentistry efforts for children, and includes videos designed to spread empathy.
As for the services provided, as part of an initiative to promote collaboration between the Japan Dental Association and the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lion is collaborating in the creation of preventive dentistry content for the Baby Plus app for expectant and nursing mothers provided by the Society, under the supervision of the Japan Dental Association, which positions the app as a guide to preventive dentistry for expectant and nursing mothers.
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 79th event in 2022, participating schools chose a date to participate and took part by watching an approximately 40-minute long educational DVD. Approximately 250,000 elementary school students attending a total of 4,585 schools participated in 2022, including students in Japan and other Asian countries. The theme of the 2022 event was “Brush Up Your Teeth and Yourself.” Prepared with editorial supervision from Toshikazu Yasui of Meikai University, the program focuses on the gums, including learning about 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: 2,460,000
Lion has been providing dental clinic-themed pavilions at KidZania Tokyo since 2006, at KidZania Koshien since 2009 and at KidZania Fukuoka since 2022. 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,” that they “learned the proper way to brush teeth” and that they were “happy to protect teeth by getting rid of plaque.” The dental clinic pavilions thus appear to be effective in communicating the importance of cavity prevention and oral health.
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.
Lion offers oral care seminars and five-minute saliva tests for corporate employees and municipal employees to ascertain their oral conditions. We strive to promote oral health care by helping people develop healthy habits starting with the mouth.
The alignment of the teeth and other oral conditions are unique to each individual. Receiving professional care from dentists or dental hygienists is crucial—not just to treat dental problems, but to prevent issues like cavities and gum disease before they arise. Such care includes fluoride treatments and instruction on brushing methods suited for one’s own oral conditions. In addition, it is best to get regular checkups at a dental clinic two to three times per year to check the state of your oral conditions, including the health of the teeth and gums. Lion promotes the habit of receiving regular professional care.
SMT is a five-minute testing system that can measure the levels of six analytes related to dental and gum health (cariogenic bacteria, acidity, buffer capacity, leucocytes, proteins and ammonia) in saliva collected by rinsing the mouth with 3 ml of distilled water. This allows dentists or dental hygienists to provide immediate feedback to their patients as part of a dental checkup. Knowing objectively their oral health conditions helps motivate patients to engage in preventive dentistry.
Furthermore, as part of Lion’s efforts to promote preventive dentistry, this test is incorporated into the Company’s internal dental checkups and utilized to establish good oral care habits among employees. Dental checkups with SMT are currently suspended due to COVID-19.
Lion Dental Products Co., Ltd.* operates L-Support, a program to support the implementation of preventive dentistry at dental clinics.
The L-Support program provides information and services useful for regular patient care to registered clinics so that they can effectively focus on preventive dentistry. The program offers seminars, video content and a dedicated website for dentistry professionals, providing opportunities to gain a broad range of preventive dentistry knowledge, including about oral care products for dental clinics.
To ensure that anyone can develop effective oral care habits, we are increasing opportunities for people to learn about oral care through the Inclusive Oral Care project as a way to tackle social issues. In Japan, the relative poverty rate among children (13.5%*1) is becoming a public concern. Children of economically disadvantaged families have inferior health habits*2 and fewer beneficial experiences*3 than the children of more affluent households. In particular, the percentage of children with five or more cavities is nearly double.
Since 2021, based on the “Dental and Oral Health” concept, Lion has developed an experience-based program called the Okuchikarada Project. We are working with NPOs and local governments at children’s cafeterias to promote preventive dentistry habits and boost children’s self-esteem. We are also creating opportunities for Lion employees to participate in these activities to experience these social issues directly, thus promoting understanding of the importance of the direction the Group’s direction is aiming for and of contributing to putting our purpose into practice.
Furthermore, in 2022, we verified the effectiveness of the experiential program conducted in collaboration with partners in industry, government and academia in Okinawa Prefecture, which has the highest percentages of child poverty and children with cavities in Japan. Results showed the signs that the experiences helped children to form oral care habits and boost self-esteem. We will use the knowledge we gained from this verification to provide even more effective experiential programs.
*1 Source: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, 2020 School Health Survey Statistics
*2 Source: Department of Social Medicine, National Institute of Child Health and Development, Adachi City and Adachi City Board of Education (FY2016)
*3 Receiving praise from others, communicating with adults, acquiring life skills, etc.
Our society and ways of living are changing rapidly as we face such increasingly serious social issues as low birth rates, an aging population, declining population and the depletion of resources on the one hand and dramatic technological progress in such areas as AI and IoT on the other. In order to keep up with these changes and continue supporting the public’s health, we are focusing on not just providing goods but offering new value to our customers. Open innovation through partnerships with external organizations, such as government agencies and other companies, is key to this endeavor.
In the oral health field, we are investigating the status of dental alignment in the children of elementary schools of Kuroishi City in Aomori Prefecture and students of Hirosaki University, a Designated National University, to confirm the relationship between dental alignment and living habits. In addition, in collaboration with Hitachi Ltd. and Hitachi Health Center, Lion has confirmed the benefits of dental health checkups in the workplace on a 10,000-person scale, as well as obtained useful data that will lead to healthier employees. By acquiring and disseminating this new information and utilizing it in the development of products and services, we are able to derive value for the creation of healthier living habits.
Lion established the Lion Award in 2001 to support the activities of academic associations and the development of young researchers. The prize is awarded via the International Association for Dental Research, the world’s largest dental research association, as well as, in Japan, the Japanese Society of Pediatric Dentistry, Japanese Society for Oral Health, Japanese Society of Gerodontology, Japanese Association for Oral Biology and Japanese Society of Periodontology. In the 21 years since its establishment, the prize has been awarded to 219 researchers.Lion Award