Saveetha Dental College is a reputed private dental college under Saveetha University, which also runs other institutions in the field of medicine, law, engineering, and paramedicine. The university — with a student population of more than 23,000 students in various disciplines — was in need of an image intensification exercise to attract quality students from across the nation.
It was under this scenario that the “India Smiles” campaign was born.
Background: India has a very poor record of oral hygiene with the highest incidence of oral cancer in the world. Therefore, the idea was to launch the initiative in partnership with The Times of India to educate the public and create better awareness about oral hygiene, especially among young audiences across India.
This initiative was considered to be a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity by Saveetha University, while also attempting to improve its image across India from where a large portion of the student body emanates.
The plan was to launch a nationwide oral screening campaign in schools. As we were planning to launch “India Smiles” across the country, there was also an opportunity to break the existing Guinness World Record for the maximum number of oral screenings conducted in one day. This record was set in 2013 by Colgate-Palmolive, China, with 70,388 screenings in one day. We, therefore, set our sights on a target of 100,000 screenings in one day across the country.
The partnerships: A venture so ambitious required the support of strong experts. India Smiles benefitted largely from the support of its partners, the Times Foundation and NIE, who were key contributors to this initiative.
The day of the event: On the November 27, 2014, more than 1,000 crew members consisting of professional dentists and dental assistants traveled to 16 locations nationwide to conduct an oral screening camp in more than 77 schools across India. Every student who was screened that day carried home a detailed personal prescription and a dental health awareness booklet.
Breaking the Guinness Record: A final count at the end of the day revealed that 101,309 students were screened. After rigorous auditing by an official Guinness adjudicator from London, we were declared the new holder of the record for number of oral screenings in one day in The Guinness World Records.
The results of the initiative? Saveetha Dental College gained not only image intensification and recognition on a national level, but also marked a place in history.