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Take two minutes to brush

Ad Council launches campaign on children’s oral health

Two minutes, twice a day. They’ve got the time.

Kids have the time to decorate their little brother like a birthday cake. They have the time to watch a goofy children’s TV show. They have the time to watch an online video of gerbils riding on toy trains. And they have the time to play a computer game launching one octopus after another on a cruise ship.

Image: Picture of little boy for the Ad council advertisement

So if they have the time to do all of that, they certainly have the time to spend two minutes, twice a day brushing their teeth, according to a national public service announcement campaign titled “Kids’ Healthy Mouths,” which launched Aug. 14. The public service campaign, told through a series of English and Spanish-language TV, radio, print, outdoor and digital PSAs, is designed to teach parents, caregivers and children about the importance of oral health.

“Brushing for two minutes now can save your child from severe tooth pain later,” the videos say. The videos, which feature all of the above scenarios, can be found at www.2min2x.org. The website also includes music, information about children’s teeth and other resources.

The ADA and 35 other groups in the dental community formed the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives and partnered with the Ad Council to produce the campaign. In its 70-year history, it’s the first campaign on children’s oral health produced by the Ad Council, which also created Smokey Bear’s “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires” and McGruff the Crime Dog’s “Take A Bite Out of Crime.”

“Today is an exciting day for oral health,” ADA President William Calnon said. “Through the great work of the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, the nation gets to be exposed to a series of informational messages about the importance of brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. The ADA is proud to be a part of this significant work to prevent tooth decay in our nation’s children.”

According to a survey released by the Ad Council, less than half of U.S. parents report that their child brushes their teeth twice a day or more.

The mouth is the gateway to a person’s overall health, and an unhealthy mouth can be associated with obesity, diabetes and even heart disease, according to the Ad Council news release. In the U.S., oral disease causes kids to miss 51 million school hours and their parents to lose 25 million work hours annually. Additionally, oral disease disproportionately affects children from low-income families and these children have almost twice the number of decayed teeth that have not been treated by a dentist as compared to others in the general population.

“The messages in this campaign may seem simple, but their impact will be felt for years to come,” said Gary Price, secretary and CEO of the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation.

An additional English and Spanish-language PSA features Elmo from “Sesame Street” singing to kids, reminding them to “Brushy Brush” their teeth every day as part of “Sesame Street’s” Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me campaign. The new campaign also includes a PSA featuring “Tooth,” the Tooth Fairy from “Rise of the Guardians,” the upcoming film from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.

Image: Picture of a dog for ad council advertisement
The public service campaign was created pro bono by ad agencies Grey Group and Wing in New York. The Ad Council is distributing the new PSAs to more than 33,000 media outlets nationwide and the ads will air and run in advertising time and space entirely donated by the media. The average Ad Council campaign receives $25-30 million in donated media annually.

“The prevalence of oral disease, and its impact on youth in our country, is astounding,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We are proud to join this wonderful collaboration to provide parents and children with simple and fun things they can do to improve children’s oral health.”

Members of the partnership include: Academy of General Dentistry; Alliance of the American Dental Association; American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology; American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Academy of Periodontology; American Association for Dental Research; American Association of Endodontists; American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons; American Association of Orthodontists; American Association of Public Health Dentistry; American Association of Women Dentists; American College of Prosthodontists; American Dental Assistants Association; American Dental Association; American Dental Education Association; American Dental Hygienists’ Association; America’s Dentists Care Foundation; Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors; California Dental Association; Children’s Dental Health Project; Connecticut Coalition for Oral Health; Dental Trade Alliance Foundation; DentaQuest Foundation; Hispanic Dental Association; Maine Dental Access Coalition; Medicaid/SCHIP Dental Association; National Association of Dental Laboratories; National Children’s Oral Health Foundation; National Dental Association; National Network for Oral Health Access; Oral Health America; Organization for Safety; Asepsis and Prevention; Santa Fe Group; and the Society of American Indian Dentists.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.ada.org/7284.aspx.