Free app guides kids' oral hygiene, eating habits

United Concordia has created a free, animated, mobile app called Chomper Chums that is designed to help children ages 4 to 11 develop healthy brushing, flossing, and rinsing habits.

The app was a direct result of feedback from United Concordia members about how to teach their kids about brushing, explained James Bramson, DDS, chief dental officer of the company.

Chomper Chums helps children learn proper dental hygiene by introducing three animal characters -- a lion, a horse, and an alligator -- with whom the children interact each time they brush, rinse, and floss.

The animated app helps ensure that children reach all quadrants of their mouths when brushing or flossing by showing the inside of their chosen animals' mouths. Children follow "sugar bugs" as they move from quadrant to quadrant, while a timer lets the children know they have brushed for the recommended amount of time: two minutes, two-times a day. As children rinse, their animals "swoosh" the water back and forth in their mouths, as well.

Children who brush, floss, and rinse correctly earn coins that can be used to purchase food items to help to care for their animals. Children are encouraged to select healthy food items, such as bananas and carrots, but can also select less healthy choices, such as cheeseburgers and candy bars, to feed their animals.

The health of the children's animals is influenced by these choices and teaches them about the importance of making their own healthy eating choices, Dr. Bramson added.

The app can be downloaded for free on Apple iPhones and Android devices.

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