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Ad Council OKs campaign on children’s oral health

ADA, DTAF, other dental groups combine efforts

Ad Council OKs campaign on children’s oral health

The Ad Council, committed to addressing pressing social issues with slogans iconic in American culture, approved a dental coalition initiative for a national advertising campaign to improve children’s oral health.

The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives campaign will seek to provide education and raise awareness of parents and caregivers to their children’s oral health. Coalition representatives presented the proposal June 13 to the Ad Council Executive Committee in New York.

“Creating a strong extensive partnership in the dental community proves that we can all work together for a common good when the cause is critical,” said Gary Price, chief executive officer of the Dental Trade Alliance and a board member of the DTA Foundation, a partnership member. “And what better good could there be than elimination of mouth disease. The DTA Foundation is honored to have been at the forefront of this effort. Our opportunity to work with the Ad Council will be a turning point for our community. Working together we can bring about healthy mouths and healthy lives.”

The campaign speaks to the American Dental Association strategic plan goal of being the trusted resource for oral health information that will help people be good stewards of their own oral health, said Dr. Kathleen O’Loughlin, executive director of the ADA, also a partnership member. “Prevention and caregiver education are key aspects toward stemming the tide of serious childhood disease.”

Mr. Price and Dr. O’Loughlin presented the proposal to the Ad Council on behalf of the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, which also includes these members: Academy of General Dentistry; American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology; American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; American Academy of Periodontology; American Association for Dental Research; American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons; American Association of Orthodontists; American Association of Public Health Dentistry; American Association of Women Dentists; American College of Prosthodontists; American Dental Education Association; Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors; California Dental Association; Hispanic Dental Association; Medicaid SCHIP Dental Association; National Dental Association; National Network for Oral Health Access; Oral Health America; Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention; Society of American Indian Dentists; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

The purpose of the ad campaign as described to the Ad Council is to improve children’s oral health so they can develop into healthy, productive adults.
The coalition told the Ad Council that the problem is manifold:

  • Dental disease impacts a child’s ability to learn, to develop self-esteem, to speak properly;
  • 51 million school hours are lost annually due to dental problems;
  • The mouth is the gateway to a person’s overall health, and an unhealthy mouth can be linked to obesity, diabetes and even heart disease;
  • Unhealthy children become unhealthy adults.

The goal is to improve children’s oral health:

  • Raise awareness of parents and caregivers;
  • Provide oral health education to parents and caregivers;
  • Enable parents and caregivers to take control and modify behaviors through simple low cost preventive strategies:
    • Get children preventive care and needed treatment;
    • Increase utilization of the care safety net, volunteer and school-based efforts and care provided by coalition members.

The proposed message for parents and caregivers:

  • Take charge of your child’s oral health;
  • This is a preventable disease;
  • Your child will:
    • Feel better and avoid pain;
    • Have better self-esteem;
    • Learn better;
    • Better nutrition;
    • Be healthier overall.
  • Every child deserves a healthy smile.

The campaign is slated to begin appearing in national media and on a customized website in 2012.

The Ad Council’s iconic slogans from previous campaigns include Smokey Bear’s “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires,” The Crash Test Dummies’ “You Could Learn A Lot From A Dummy,” McGruff the Crime Dog’s “Take A Bite Out Of Crime,” “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” and “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste.” The Ad Council initiated public service advertising in 1942.