New ads aim to improve kids' brushing habits

2014 08 13 16 25 30 510 Toothpaste Brush 200

In a new national survey released late last week, 75% of parents reported that their kids sometimes or frequently forget to brush their teeth, according to the Ad Council.

Despite that tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S. and U.S. children reportedly miss more than 51 million hours of school each year because of dental-related illnesses, the survey results show that parents rate school safety, nutrition, and cold and flu season over their children brushing their teeth as priorities.

To help parents better understand why ignoring dental health can have serious consequences, and also educate families about good dental health habits, the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives have created new public service ads (PSAs) for the Kids' Healthy Mouths campaign.

“75% of parents reported that their kids sometimes or frequently forget to brush their teeth.”

The new PSAs are humorous depictions of life lessons that make the point that while parenting can be tricky at times, getting kids to brush for two minutes, twice a day can be easier than other things parents will try to teach their children. The new PSAs made their debut at the ADA 2014 annual meeting in San Antonio. According to the Ad Council survey, 61% of parents think that getting their kids to brush is easier compared with other daily tasks such as completing homework and making the bed.

The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives is a coalition of more than 35 leading dental health organizations, who together with the Ad Council, believe every child deserves a healthy smile. While dental disease impacts all children, it disproportionately affects children from low-income families and minorities, according to the partnership.

The new English and Spanish-language PSAs direct parents and caregivers to the campaign website, (available in English and Spanish, and includes a mobile version), where parents and children can watch two-minute videos while brushing their teeth.

"This campaign has made extraordinary strides in two years in encouraging parents to get their children to brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day," stated Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council, in a press release. "This year's integrated and holistic program will continue to have a significant impact by entertaining, engaging, and educating both parents and children about the impact of oral health. The lighthearted nature of the creative makes brushing seem like an accomplishable goal, and I believe parents will heed our message."

"The initial success of Kids' Healthy Mouths shows that we can positively impact the future health of children, but we have so much more work to do," stated Gary Price, secretary and CEO of the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation, in a release. "Most mouth disease is preventable using steps that can easily become a part of every child's life routine. The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives is proud to work with the Ad Council to share the message that a healthy mouth can contribute to a healthy life."

The Ad Council is also launching a mobile program that will engage parents and their kids in a fun and creative brushing challenge. The campaign also includes a mobile gaming app called "Toothsavers," which has received more than 120,000 downloads since January 2014.

Campaign partners will continue to promote Kids' Health Mouths in the weeks leading up to National Brush Day on November 1.

The PSAs can be can be viewed on the campaign's website.

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