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ADA's public service announcement holds record

March 19, 2012

By Stacie Crozier, ADA News staff

Logging more than one million airings and 467 episodes, the ADA Dental Minute featuring host Dr. Maria Lopez Howell was honored as the longest running live action public service announcement series in the history of public service broadcasting, according to Nielsen Media Research.

“It’s so exciting for the American Dental Association to have this kind of exposure,” said Dr. Howell. “The Dental Minute project was launched to encourage dialogue between dentists and their patients, so the Nielsen Award shows that the ADA was able to accomplish this goal.”

Nielsen award: Dr. Howell hosts the ADA Dental Minute, which Nielsen Media Research honored for being the longest running live action PSA in the history of public service broadcasting.

The ADA Dental Minute first hit the airwaves in September 1998, offering one-minute oral health messages in a news broadcast style setting.

In 2005, the PSAs went bilingual. Dr. Howell, an ADA consumer advisor and general dentist based in San Antonio, Texas, starred in both the English and Spanish versions.

Anchoring all 467 episodes, Dr. Howell has appeared in more PSAs than any other performer in the history of public service broadcasting. She said the crew taped about 40 shows in two days each year.

“There were some unique challenges through the years,” she joked. “We had to tape in a soundproof environment without heat or air conditioning noise, so sometimes we were bundled up in a freezing studio or trying to stay cool in sweltering temperatures. It was a rigorous process, and I have incredible appreciation for people who do this every day. I really enjoyed serving dentistry in this role. It was a marvelous experience, but in the end, I was always glad to go back to the office and spend time with my patients.”

“As an organization, we owe a collective thank you to the production team, Jack Kenny (ADA manager, creative services and producer/creator of the Dental Minute), Jason Lamkey (producer/director with Fusion Chamber Inc.) and the late John Rosnell (producer/director with CRG Inc.).

“They were tremendously supportive and encouraging, and they never skipped a beat when high definition changed the landscape of television. I remain grateful to the ADA for the professional and personal honor of hosting the Dental Minute.”

The ADA Dental Minute has aired in every market in the United States, as well as in Mexico, Panama and England. There is also a bilingual radio Dental Minute series that is syndicated nationally across the United States and Dental Minute episodes can also be found on and on

“The ADA is proud of this significant achievement because it embodies the Association’s vision 'to be the recognized leader on oral health’ by reaching out to bring important messages to the public,” said Dr. William R. Calnon, ADA president.

“We congratulate Dr. Howell and the ADA staff who created this successful, long-running and well-known series that has reached millions of viewers in the past 14 years,” he concluded.