Thursday, August 23, 2012

Let’s Bring Back “Look Ma, No Cavities!”

By Dr. Doyle Williams

“Look Ma, no cavities!” seems to be a phrase of the past.

Recently the Australian Dental Association (ADA) suggested many Australian parents view dental problems as “the norm.” Studies revealed 60 percent of Australian parents surveyed accepted that their child would experience tooth decay, an almost entirely preventable disease, at some point in time. And Australia is not alone: tooth decay is the most common chronic illness among school-age children in the United States.

Tooth decay, the process that results in a cavity and occurs when bacteria in your mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth, can be easily be prevented by brushing and flossing twice a day, controlling harmful bacteria and maintaining a healthy diet. If tooth decay goes untreated, it can cause pain, infection, tooth loss and- in extreme cases- death in patients.

Parents have a challenging job. Instead of looking at brushing teeth as a burden, think of it as a relaxing two minutes of ‘me’ time.  Here are some ideas:
  • Make brushing and flossing  a twice daily event – in the morning before you go out the door and as the last activity before going to bed
  • Take your baby to the dentist by age 1 to be assessed for future cavity risk.
  • Drink fluoridated tap water instead of plain bottled water.
  • Cut down on sugary snacks, juices and sodas especially before bedtime.

If children sense their parents view dental problems as inevitable, they are likely to adopt the same belief and will be less likely to take pride in their oral health. Let’s take simple—but important--steps to bring back the phrase “Look Ma, no cavities!” and erase tooth decay. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Kids’ Healthy Mouths Campaign

By Fay Donohue and Ralph Fuccillo 

Every child deserves a healthy smile. That’s why DentaQuest is delighted to share a first look at the new Kids' Healthy Mouths campaign. DentaQuest is a partner in this exciting, new campaign developed by the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, leading organizations in the field of oral health. 

(Video link:

The Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign aims to educate parents and caregivers about how to improve oral health in children up to age 12 through simple, preventive strategies. Using entertaining public service announcements, the campaign highlights that it takes just two minutes of brushing twice a day to keep mouths healthy and help prevent severe tooth pain. 

With a focus on low-income and minority parents and caregivers, the Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign offers 14 fun, two-minute videos their kids can watch while brushing, along with practical information about oral health. 

Accompanying the PSAs are 15-, 30-, and 60-second television spots, like the one above, as well as print advertising, all of which will be promoted via a wide range of media outlets.

Dental decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood. DentaQuest is driven by a mission to improve the oral health of all. Our vision is a nation free of dental disease, where no child suffers from the pain of tooth decay and where every person has access to quality dental care. 

Above is a sneak preview of the PSAs and 2-minute videos; we also encourage you to take a look at the Kids’ Healthy Mouths media materials.

We hope you will support this effort by sharing our news and these materials with your clients, friends, and colleagues.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Celebration of Diversity: The Multicultural Oral Health Summit

Guest post by Carmen Fields, DentaQuest Foundation Associate Director National Programs       

Despite coming from different backgrounds and experiences, it was clear the hundreds of attendees at the Multicultural Oral Health Summit all shared a common vision: increased access to quality oral health services and improvement of oral health for all.

The first-ever joint convention of The Hispanic DentalAssociation (HDA), National Dental Association (NDA) and Society of American Indian Dentists (SAID) took place in sunny Boca Raton, Florida last month. I joined global health leaders, corporate partners, community leaders, foundations and others from all over the nation to discuss ways to “collectively meet the needs of a diverse population to improve oral health.”

The Summit began Friday (July 20) with a powerfully symbolic prayer by Dr. George Blue Spruce, founder of the SAID, and a posting of Latin American Flags by two dozen members of the HDA. The musical interludes during the opening program were especially refreshing, featuring a flute player from the Seminole Tribe of Florida and a gospel ensemble from the area.

I attended the Summit on behalf of the DentaQuest Foundation, which was recognized during the Summit’s opening ceremony for its ongoing support of the three multicultural dental organizations and for its commitment to improving oral health in underserved and diverse populations. I was joined by Fay Donohue, DentaQuest CEO and Foundation board member, who accepted the award. By collaborating with the HDA, NDA and SAID, the Foundation continues to help promote public policy and other initiatives to support optimal oral health for everyone.

The Foundation sponsored the Summit’s two-part President’s Symposium. The first presentation was rich and layered, with powerful presentations by University of Connecticut’s Associate Clinical Professor Sarita Arteaga, Foundation board member and Oral Health Alliance founder Caswell Evans, and Dr. Spruce. Dr. Joan Y. Reeve of Harvard Medical School was a terrific moderator, who framed the meeting as a provocative restating of the issues of health, focusing directly on dental care disparities. DentaQuest Foundation President, Ralph Fuccillo facilitated a presentation on how to improve oral health access. Take-away points from the discussions will become the basis for future messaging and an eventual strategy plan aimed to improve overall oral health care access.

While I attended many of the events at the Summit, two events in particular were unforgettable. At the Annual Women Dentists’ Awards Brunch (July 21), I had the pleasure of sitting with the founder of this symposium event, Dr. Marie Holliday of Dallas, TX, a Boston University and Tufts Dental School graduate. The group was organized to address the needs and concerns of African American female practitioners—and highlight and recognize their work. I also enjoyed The Civil Rights Luncheon, held Monday (July 23), which paid tribute to individuals who have fought for the civil rights and liberties of under-represented Americans throughout history. Orrin D. Mitchell, DDS, who helped pioneer in the fight against racial discrimination when he sought membership in the segregated Yacht club of Jacksonville, Fla. and Tom Joyner, whose syndicated radio show has been encouraging  good health (and now hopefully oral health) practices were awarded Civil Rights Awards. I was honored to be in the presence of so many distinguished leaders.

This historical event changed my perspective and made me hopeful for the future of oral health. Collectively, I have witnessed, that we can make a difference and help create brighter smiles for people of all walks of life.