Bulletin of Dental Education

Dentistry in the News - April 2012

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Partnership 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 complex issue. 

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

The 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.

Duggan ad 2013