The Crest Healthier Smiles Project is a nationwide education program about the importance of a good oral care routine for kids and regular visits with dental professionals. Crest has teamed up with Feeding America to donate hundreds of thousands of tubes of toothpaste to those who need it most, and embarked on an education program through a strategic alliance with the National PTA, to reach parents and educators through meetings and school activities around the country.
* National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service. No endorsement is implied by Crest.
Poor Oral Health Can Lead to 3X More Absences
Good oral health can help earn an “A” for School Attendance. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, students in the United States miss more than 51 million hours of school instruction due to dental-related illness every year. In fact, kids with poor oral health are nearly three times more likely to miss school. While the statistics may seem alarming, this issue is preventable. Check out this article for ways to prevent cavities.
How the Crest Healthier Smiles Project is Making an Impact
Schools and organizations across the country are working together to promote good oral health and in turn, boost attendance and academics throughout the school year.
Oyler School, a public school in Cincinnati, OH, is taking both progressive and proactive steps towards improving the learning experience for the kids in their community. The school transformed into a community learning center serving students from pre-school through 12th grade with the leadership of principal Craig Hockenberry and a team of passionate community partners, including the Children’s Oral Health Network.1 The team recognized the many unmet academic, health and social service needs for the students in the community – dental care being one of high priority. That’s when the steering team began work on the state’s first self-sustaining, in-school dental clinic powered by start-up contributions, paid and volunteer dental professionals along government health service reimbursements.2
"The reality is that every day children in our schools miss learning opportunities because of dental pain", said Dr. Marilyn Crumpton, director of School and Adolescent Health at the Cincinnati Health Department2.
The clinic serves the students of Oyler School and their families, providing academic, health and social services under one roof. The services, including dental and vision centers, with the Oyler School community center for learning are making a measureable difference. High school graduation was rare, almost non-existent, prior to Oyler School’s transformation. That trend began to change in 2013, when 40.5 percent of high school students graduated in four years, increasing to 48.7% in 2015. College is now a reality for Oyler School’s Class of 2016 with many accepted into college.3
Lessons in a Lunch Box®
Lessons in a Lunch Box® was created by Pediatric Dentist and CEO of The Children’s Oral health Institute to help address the most common chronic disease of children 12-19 (59%), dental caries (cavities).4 Cavities require treatment, which typically requires time away from the classroom. This leads to missing out on important academic lessons. The Lessons in a Lunch Box® equips kids, their parents and teachers with oral health educational materials, healthy eating guidelines and oral care supplies. The oral health education materials include a five-day lesson plan for teachers and students. The oral care supplies are packaged in the Dental Care in a Carrot®, which includes toothpaste, a toothbrush, rinse cup and dental floss. Altogether, Lessons in a Lunch Box is designed by dental professionals to keep oral care an important part of the daily routine, at least 2 minutes; twice a day.
Kids experience some of the most important life and academic lessons as adolescents and teens. The importance of oral health should not be a lesson learned reactively. Oral care for kids must be approached proactively as part of their preventative health routine to help them enjoy life’s moments, knowing a healthy mouth is part of a healthy body.