By Stacie Crozier, ADA News staff
Sesame Street Oral Health Program
Elmo brushes his teeth. Photo by Gil Vaknin, © 2012 Sesame Workshop
Beloved Sesame Street characters Elmo and Abby Caddaby are reaching out to preschool children, parents, caregivers and health professionals with important oral health messages through Sesame Workshop’s latest oral health outreach effort.
Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me is a bilingual multimedia outreach initiative designed to empower children ages 2 to 5 years make healthy choices for their oral health and educate adults about the benefits of oral health care, having a dental home and taking care of primary teeth. Launched last month by the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the program is sponsored by Sam’s Club and MetLife Foundation.
“Good oral health habits in children’s early years are so critical to good oral health and overall health, yet many parents may not realize it,” said Jeanette Betancourt, Ed.D., senior vice president, Outreach and Educational Practices, Sesame Workshop. “Children’s oral health affects their overall health, their school readiness and every other factor in their lives. This program uses the power of Sesame Street to help bring this message to three generations who’ve welcomed us into their lives…today’s children, parents and grandparents.”
The ADA will also promote Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me multimedia kits on ADA.org and feature the videos on its soon-to-launch website for the public, MouthHealthy.org. The new site will be organized by life stage and will include a section just for kids, with the Sesame Street materials featured prominently.
“The Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me materials specifically designed for use by health professionals offer dental professionals a way to reach out to young children and their families who already welcome Sesame Street’s endearing characters into their lives,” said Dr. William Calnon, ADA president. “As America’s leading advocate for oral health, the ADA lauds the efforts of the Sesame Workshop to help provide families and dental professionals with another way to connect and improve children’s oral health.”
The outreach kit contains an original Sesame Street DVD featuring songs by Elmo and Abby; a Guide for Families with useful information and tools to use with children to reinforce good oral health habits, an online Brushing Teeth game and a digital Guide for Providers designed to help health professionals create partnerships with families and emphasize the importance of having a dental home for young children. The materials are also available in both English and Spanish at www.SesameStreet.org/teeth.
“We are delighted that the ADA will be offering links to the resources on their websites,” Dr. Betancourt added, “because we know families already turn to the ADA as a knowledgeable, trusted and convenient source for oral health information.”