A cross-sectional study of exposure across social media platforms for the British Orthodontic Society retention awareness campaign: #HoldthatSmile

Yung Lam, Jadbinder Seehra, Stefan Abela, Martyn T. Cobourne*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: The use of media campaigns in health promotion has become more common in recent years. #HoldthatSmile is a British Orthodontic Society life-long retention awareness campaign aimed at the general public and dental profession launched in 2017. This study investigated #HoldthatSmile exposure on social media platforms over a 12-month period following campaign launch. Design: A cross-sectional content analysis. Setting: Public-facing, English-language posts tagged #HoldthatSmile on the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter social media platforms. Methods: Data were collected relating to a 12-month period, from September 2017 immediately following campaign launch, to the end of September 2018. The primary outcome was exposure to the #HoldthatSmile campaign on the different platforms through analysis of posts, measurement of audience reached and engagement. Secondary outcomes included demographics of user-types and content analysis of reactive comments on posts. Results: A total of 205 relevant posts with #HoldthatSmile were identified on Twitter (n=90, 43.9%), Facebook (n=64, 31.2%) and Instagram (n=51, 24.9%) with an overall calculated audience reach of 108,807 individuals. There were 1849 reactions across the three platforms. The percentage of reactions that generated comments was low at 3%, 6.1% and 5.7% for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, respectively. Just over three-quarters of users were either Dental Surgeries (53%) or Professional Dental Bodies (28%) and the vast majority were from the United Kingdom. Overall, most comments were positive (46%, n=36) or neutral (44%, n=35) with only 10% (n=8) negative. The overriding theme was a person’s name, with the user commonly typing a friend’s name in order to bring their attention to the post. Conclusion: There were a relatively low number of posts relevant to #HoldthatSmile on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram over the campaign’s first 12 months. However, the majority of these did convey positive or neutral messages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of orthodontics
Issue number1
Early online date2 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2022


  • orthodontics
  • patient
  • professional education
  • retainers
  • social media
  • tooth movement


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