Statement on Oral Health Public Service Advertising Campaign
A major national public awareness advertising campaign about oral
health will start this summer. The Dental Trade Alliance, along with 35
other groups in the dental community including the American Dental
Education Association (ADEA), formed the Partnership
for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives and
partnered with The Ad Council to produce this campaign.
The Ad Council produces, distributes, and promotes public service
campaigns on behalf of nonprofit organizations and government agencies. The campaigns cover a variety of subjects, such
as children’s quality of life, preventive health practices, education,
community well-being, and strong families. The private, nonprofit
organization is known for its iconic advertising campaigns, including Smokey
Bear’s “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires”
and McGruff the Crime Dog’s “Take A Bite Out Of Crime.” These simple
messages have been proven to motivate the public to take action.
The goal of the Partnership is to improve oral health in America,
and this campaign is the first step in meeting that goal. Ultimately, the
Partnership wants to reach the entire population in North America to help them
understand the critical importance of oral health and its relationship to total
health. A single three-year campaign alone will not solve the oral health
literacy problem, but this first step is an essential start to addressing this
To raise the awareness of the importance of preventing dental
disease and dental pain, success must be measured by increased knowledge of
prevention, including brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, good
nutrition, and seeking dental care on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, oral health is not a priority for many Americans, who
simply do not understand the need for good oral health practices. This advertising
campaign is intended to get the public’s attention and to teach them about all
the important components of good oral health.
The first phase of this major literacy effort, which focuses on
caregivers of children, will start with the basics: “Oral health is important
and you can take specific action to start the process of preventing dental
disease and dental pain.” Millions of people do not understand even the basic
elements of prevention, such as brushing their teeth. By starting with certain
simple, easily understood messages, the campaign can focus attention on the
steps that people can take to improve their oral health. After this
initial step, the Partnership hopes that the public will be more receptive to
other components of total oral care.
There are four basic steps to good oral health: brushing with
fluoride toothpaste, flossing, practicing good nutrition, and seeing a dentist.
The campaign’s primary goal is to have millions of American children start on
the road to good health. By capturing the attention of children’s caregivers, the
Partnership hopes to motivate them to take the first step towards implementing
a lifetime of solid oral health habits.
Call for Applications – ADA Foundation Samuel Harris Fund for
Children’s Dental Health Grants
ADA Foundation is accepting applications for the Samuel Harris Fund for
Children’s Dental Health Grant from non-profit organizations and government
agencies that sponsor education programs for mothers and caregivers to help
reduce the incidence of early childhood caries. The deadline for receipt of
applications is April 16, 2012. About 17 grants of up to $5,000 each will
be awarded solely for prenatal and postnatal oral health instruction for
mothers and caregivers.
In 1998, Dr. Samuel Harris, a noted pediatric dentist and philanthropist,
challenged the then ADA Health Foundation to match his generous donation and
endow a fund for prevention of childhood dental disease. Dr. Harris’
legacy and spirit of giving lives on in the ADAF Samuel Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health, which has
enabled the Foundation to provide annual grants to non-profit organizations and
positively impact children’s lives for more than 10 years.
Grant documents, including guidelines and the
application, may be downloaded from www.adafoundation.org.