Partnerships for health promotion are between two or more partners to work co-operatively towards a set of shared health outcomes; few public-private partnerships in oral health promotion have been established.
Aim: To undertake a detailed analysis of a unique global public-private partnership to promote oral health between a global company, Unilever and the Féderation Dentaire International (FDI), a membership organisation representing more than one million dentists worldwide.
Methods: Qualitative and quantitative, including: collating and analysing a wide range of partnership documents (n = 164); reviewing film and pictorial records; undertaking structured interviews (n = 34) with people who had a critical role in establishing and delivering the aims of the partnership, and external experts; and site visits to selected global projects active at the time of the evaluation.
Results: Over 1 million people have been reached directly through their engagement with 39 projects in 36 countries; an oral health message about the benefits of twice daily tooth brushing has appeared with the authority of the FDI logo on billions of packs of Unilever Oral Care’s toothpastes worldwide; many individual members of National Dental Associations have participated in health promotion activities within their communities for the first time; some organisational challenges during the development and delivery of the partnership were recognised by both partners.
Conclusions: The first phase of this unique global partnership has been successful in making major progress towards achieving its goals; lessons learned have ensured that the next phase of the partnership has significant potential to contribute to improving oral health globally.