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New Book Series Helps Parents & Dentists Improve Children’s Oral Health

Posted on August 6, 2012 | in Give Back | by

Picture the scene, in bathrooms all over the world . . .“Noooo. Won’t. Don’t want to brush my teeth. No No No. . .”

Your heart sinks. The battle’s begun – AGAIN. Your normally easy-going, fun-loving child has grown horns and turned into a monster – with superhuman strength!

This scene is playing out in bathrooms all over the country. Usually rational, capable parents are at wits’ end and completely out of ideas for transforming this twice-daily fight into an enjoyable ritual for everyone.

Sadly, the upshot of this scene often means that parents can’t face the fighting, give in and young children end up with a mouth full of decayed teeth, a situation which could so easily have been avoided.

Tooth decay is totally preventable!

In the spirit of making all the parent’s jobs a little easier, while also allowing dentists to communicate engaging & fun educational dental health material specifically geared toward kids, we recently ran across an organization out of the UK, CleanMyTeeth.co.uk – and decided to make a connection.

The following Q&A is some of what we discussed through email and after-hour Skype calls, we hope sharing this info can help (in some tiny way) spread the message about improving children’s oral health across the world.

How to Clean Your TeethWhat to Eat and Drink for Healthy Teeth

Tell us a little bit about your organization, what is Clean My Teeth and what is it that you do?

The stated aim of the ‘Clean My Teeth’ campaign is to improve the oral health of one million children around the world. There is no nation where this problem is not acute. It’s certainly not confined to underdeveloped corners of the globe.

We aim to do this by educating those whose role it is to bring up or teach young children – parents, guardians, nursery caretakers, teachers and varied health professionals – with the help of simple, totally child-engaging booklets and the support of the dental world as a whole.

The level of resource and intervention is inconsistent around the world. Millions of children are suffering from a problem we know how to stop. And we want to link those professionals who can help with the children who need their help.

We firmly believe there should not be an oral health crisis and that by working together we can eradicate it

Good brushing is easy, fun and exciting for kids – with the right help.

Backing the campaign is Little Learners Publishing, who have come up with a simple solution that kids totally engage with.

Enter “How to Clean Your Teeth” . . . a tool that turns toothbrushing time into a fun activity for both parent and child and – as an added bonus – often brings you closer together in all sorts of other ways too.

These fabulous little booklets have been designed, written and illustrated to engage children completely, so that THEY are the ones driving YOU to use it.

In fact, once they have a booklet of their own, they’ll usually INSIST on you using it EVERY TIME THEY BRUSH, so that they can ‘get it right’.

You may even have been giving them all of the same facts that are in “How to Clean Your Teeth”, but that was different in their eyes. Now it’s there, in full colour, in a booklet, it must be right . . .

And the upshot of all this is that there is now a much more serene scene being played out in those bathrooms around the country who have discovered the booklets. You can read one mum’s fascinating account of her experiences by following the link: http://www.homeedder.blogspot.co.uk/

Our booklets help convey complex concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way so children can understand & want to participate in their own oral health.

Our campaign is centered around two booklets, How to Clean your Teeth and What to Eat and Drink for Healthy Teeth.

Both booklets have been designed in close consultation with The British Dental Health Foundation to ensure they meet their stringent guidelines for teeth brushing.

The booklets are illustration-led with minimal copy and are designed to engage younger readers and guide them through the correct method of brushing their teeth, together with information on how food and drink affects their teeth.

You can purchase a sample pack containing both booklets, please just visit the website for more details – www.cleanmyteeth.co.uk – and we’ll get you on the road to eradicating tooth decay in children for good.

Follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/cleanmyteeth) or Twitter (@cleanmyteeth) to add your voice to the campaign.

And if you’ve got comments, thoughts or feedback on the ‘Clean My Teeth‘ campaign, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at: hello@cleanmyteeth.co.uk

The Clean My Teeth campaign is based in the U.K. and has partnered with the British Dental Health Foundation – do you work with dentists outside of the U.K. as well?

We want to work with dentists the world over to get the message out to parents and all those professionals who are responsible for looking after or educating young children. We’re already working on launching this campaign in the United States and Australia too.

Your 2 booklets for teaching children optimal oral health look great! Do you also have plans to release a digital version – like an app for tablets & mobile phones?

Yes, the digital version is already written. It should be available from the end of August.

How can dentists partnering with Clean My Teeth help get the word out about children’s tooth decay & optimal oral health?

There are a few ways.

First, our stated mission is to transform the mouths of at least one million children from decayed to healthy. So, let’s get the word out to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. You can follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or connect with us on LinkedIn.

The next way is to have the booklets prominently displayed in your practice and make sure your talk to all of the parents and children who visit you about how this is such a needless problem to have, can have devastating medical consequences if left untreated, but can be so easily turned around.

Hold a kid’s club, where you give the booklets aware as part of a goody bag, but make sure you go through the ‘How to Clean Your Teeth’ booklet with each of the children while they’re still with you. Our experience shows that once a child has been introduced to cleaning their teeth with the help of the booklet, they’re hooked and use it EVERY time after that.

The facts . . .

Tooth brushing is a really key thing to get right. It’s not just about ensuring your child keeps a happy, healthy smile, the state of their oral health can have a massive effect on their general health too. And this is a mammoth problem worldwide – it’s certainly not confined to developing nations.

Let’s take the States as an example . . .

• Dental care is the number one unmet healthcare need for children
• Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease – 5 times more common than asthma
• 50% of kids in Grade 1 have dental decay
• Kids with tooth decay have problems eating, sleeping and paying attention in school
• It has a big effect on their well-being and self-esteem
• 51 million school hours are missed every year as a direct result of tooth decay

Improving children’s dental health is an important and much-needed mission, what future plans are in the works for expanding the awareness?

We aim to work with all of the key dental and oral health associations/foundations around the world, to ensure the message going out to consumers is both consistent and constant

We also aim to work with kindergartens, nurseries and primary schools to give them access to our oral health module

We will be taking this campaign message straight to consumers via retail outlets. And, obviously, we want to get as many dentists, hygienists and oral health educators behind us, promoting this message and providing the solution to as many kids and parents as possible.

We’re very open to all suggestions, so if you have any sponsorship or practice building ideas, please drop us a line and we’ll happily consider them.

How can dentists & parents here in the States participate or get involved?

Every booklet sold = another child educated and off the dental ‘at risk’ register.

We want to shout our message from the rooftops – could you help us?

3 Ways to Help in Under :30

1. Go buy the books.
2. Go ‘Like’ Clean My Teeth on Facebook then Share this article.
3. Send this link to your dentist!

You can also ‘Recommend’ this on the bottom right corner of this page…you’re already connected to your dentist on Facebook right??

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+Chris Barnard is Managing Editor of DentalPatientNews.com, a patient-centric Social Dental Network blog dedicated to enabling the digital dental health conversation - and the eradication of the cavity creeps.
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