Baden-Powell on teeth: a centenary perspective of a pioneer of preventive dental health

Pearn, J. (2008) Baden-Powell on teeth: a centenary perspective of a pioneer of preventive dental health. British Dental Journal, 204 1: 33-36. doi:10.1038/bdj.2007.1187

Author Pearn, J.
Title Baden-Powell on teeth: a centenary perspective of a pioneer of preventive dental health
Journal name British Dental Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0007-0610
Publication date 2008-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/bdj.2007.1187
Volume 204
Issue 1
Start page 33
End page 36
Total pages 4
Place of publication London, UK
Publisher Macmillan
Language eng
Subject 1105 Dentistry
Formatted abstract
Lord Baden-Powell showed that:

* Dental hygiene was the most fundamental indicator of the 'civilised life'.
* Care of the teeth is practical even in the most difficult of physical circumstances.
* Simple messages of preventive health and dental hygiene can reach the widest audience if such are made relevant to the target population 'at risk'.


In the era when dental care, particularly preventive dental health, did not enjoy a high public profile, Lieut-General (later Lord) Robert Baden-Powell (1857–1941) was an influential advocate for the care of the teeth. He was a pioneer in a targeted outreach to youth, specifically boys and young men, emphasising the importance of dental health as an essential part of total body health and fitness. In his book, Scouting for boys, first published on 1 May 1908, he described personal accounts of the consequences of the neglect of oral hygiene and presented advice on how to make an effective 'camp tooth-brush' in order that dental hygiene would not be compromised even under the exigencies of conditions away from home. Baden-Powell wrote explicitly that daily dental hygiene was the single most important 'one civilised thing [teenage youths] could do', irrespective of one's physical circumstances. Scouting for boys was for more than five decades the world's best seller in English, after the Bible. It has run to, and now surpasses, 60 million copies in 30 languages and has been published in 35 editions. It is believed that Baden-Powell's frank and direct exhortations to preserve the teeth, with simple and direct advice on food and what today would be called oral hygiene, have been read by 350 million people throughout the world. His advocacy reached out to boys and young men as it does today to youths of both sexes in that 'window of opportunity' when life-long habits of healthcare are being inculcated and when important components of secondary dentition are forming. This paper is a centenary perspective of Baden-Powell's pioneering advocacy of modern preventive dental health.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 10:34:40 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of Faculty Of Health Sciences