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The Happy Tooth Symbol - 30 years of success for dental health

He is engaging and optimistic. He is reliable and always friendly. He keeps his promises, and everyone who sees him knows without having to put it into words what he stands for right away. It really is a pity that this thirty-yearold is not a real person, but "just" a symbol. But that's what it's like in the world of the big brands: name and symbol are unique and are not changed. Providing, of course, that those symbols are as successful as the Happy Tooth, which came to Germany 30 years ago from Switzerland and today is the "boss" of a worldwide network of tooth-friendly organizations.

For three decades, the » Happy Tooth symbol has served consumers as a guarantee and an orientation aid. In contrast to statements such as "sugar-free" or "with xylite", which refer only to the composition of a foodstuff and say nothing about its characteristics with regard to (dental) health, this symbol guarantees that a foodstuff is of a quality that is beneficial to teeth, causing neither caries nor erosions on the tooth surface. In this way, the Happy Tooth symbol serves those companies which test their products scientifically by very strict criteria and label them accordingly.

Sugar-free products had been around for a long time when Swiss scientists succeeded in convincing the first raw-materials and candy manufacturers of the need to launch an explanatory initiative on confectionaries that are beneficial to the teeth in 1982. Jointly, they laid the foundation for tooth-friendly organizations which are now at work on three continents. In a pioneering effort, they set scientifically-recognized tests as a precondition for the award of the Happy Tooth quality symbol, which accounts for the trust which people have in the brand, and its value, even today.

Working for dental and oral health

Because preventative care against caries begins at the first baby tooth with dental care and a conscious approach to sugar, all education by dental-friendly organizations starts with young parents, continues in kindergartens and schools, and is rounded out by joint ventures with dental practices and specialists in preventative care, with universities and with research institutions. The associations work particularly toward a tooth-beneficial diet, encourage dental care, and increase the profile of the symbol through a multitude of activities, including their presence at international conferences and trade fairs. The quality symbol has long outgrown its original "sweet" tasks, and can be found on materials for preventive campaigns and courses, and on baby drinks, dental-care products and children's dummies.

In the beginning, there were caries

The history of the Happy Tooth really begins with the "hole in the tooth", dental caries. Or, more properly, with prevention of caries. Because without research into how caries are formed and how they can be prevented, and without the absolute determination of internationally-recognized experts on caries, the national associations in Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Japan, China, Thailand and Korea, the umbrella organization Tooth-friendly International (Basel, CH), and the Happy Tooth, created in 1981, would not exist today.

Clear scientific knowledge and a highly developed foodstuff technology are behind this first symbol of quality for high-standard foodstuffs in Europe. For thirty years, tooth-friendly products have been manufactured in Germany whose taste leaves nothing to be desired compared to those containing sugar with their help. But the labels "sugar-free", "does not harm teeth" or "tooth-friendly" alone are not sufficient by a long shot for this quality symbol to be awarded; to test the cariogenic potential of food and drink, intraoral plaque pH telemetry is still today the only method worldwide which allows reliable pH measurement in a person's mouth (in vivo) under a plaque created naturally in the oral cavity. Only three independent dental university institutes – Zurich (Switzerland), Witten/Herdecke (Germany) and Sendai (Japan) – are able to conduct these tests.

National importance grows

Since the Tooth-Friendly International campaign was founded, its goals have been unchanged: to improve dental and oral health and to promote a dental health-friendly diet. What has changed, however, are the member firms which run their brands increasingly internationally. Over 80 brands allowed to show the Happy Tooth, plus numerous training and qualification courses, coordinated inter-country by Tooth-Friendly International and held with the support of member firms, work together today for better dental health, even in South and Central America.

Published by: rf/tk 04/16
The Happy Tooth Symbol - 30 years of success for dental health

The Happy Tooth Symbol - 30 years of success for dental health

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