Fall for Smiles promotes a lifetime of healthy smiles by encouraging families to make good oral hygiene practices part of their back‐to‐school and autumn routines. This innovative public awareness campaign by oral health America® (OHA), uses a variety of fun activities -- coloring sheets, quizzes and a best smile contest -- to spread the word to kids everywhere that brushing and flossing their teeth daily and regular dental exams are essential to improving both their oral- and overall health.
Conducted in collaboration with Oral Healthcare Can't Wait®, OHA's Fall for Smiles program works closely with leading members of the dental community to increase public awareness about the importance of oral healthcare. The goal of the 2010 campaign is to ensure that people of all ages make having a healthy mouth a priority by brushing and flossing daily, scheduling regular dental visits, making healthy food choices and avoiding tobacco.
2010 Is an Important Year for Oral Health America
Research shows that Fall for Smiles' message is especially timely this year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is the number one chronic childhood disease in the U.S. Nationwide, more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental problems. Fall for Smiles is working hard to change that.
Improving Oral Health for All
Fall for Smiles is doing a stellar job of getting the word out about the importance of good oral heath; still, more needs to be done. A 2010 survey by Harris Interactive found that 87 percent of parents say children should brush their teeth twice a day or more; yet just 64 percent of children say they brush their teeth that often and only 30 percent floss daily. Nearly 90 percent of parents surveyed said taking children to the dentist on a regular basis is extremely or very important, and a majority of parents said that dental appointments are important for getting children ready to go back to school in the fall.
While 65 percent of parents said oral health education in school is important, only 39 percent of children report being taught about oral or dental health in the past year. As they get older, children learn less and less about oral health from both parents and schools. Elementary school students are far more likely to have received this instruction than middle and high school students, despite the fact that 78 percent of teenagers have experienced tooth decay.
Advocates for Good Oral Health
Oral Health America, a national nonprofit organization, is dedicated to changing lives by connecting communities across the nation with resources to increase access to oral healthcare, education and advocacy. A key part of Oral Health America's mission focuses on the needs of underserved groups. Oral Healthcare Can't Wait is an initiative of the Dental Trade Alliance, promoting patient awareness of oral health.
To learn more about Fall for Smiles and how you can help spread healthy smiles to your family and friends, visit www.FallforSmiles.org.