Did you know that tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease? In Colorado, 40% of kindergarten children and 55% of third-grade children have dental cavities. At Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, we aim to improve those numbers. Along with our partners, we connect with Coloradans on the topic of oral health in a variety of ways. We’re involved in school wellness committees and local workshops, as well as TV and radio, text messages and ads. Collectively, these efforts are known as the Cavities Get Around campaign. It was created in partnership with the Denver-based Amélie Company advertising agency.
This bi-lingual campaign primarily reaches low-income families with children ages 0-6. It also reaches leaders in communities affected by poor oral health. In 2016, 360,000 Coloradan saw the campaign.
When we kicked off the campaign in 2014, the goal was to engage Colorado families, influencers and communities. We wanted to educate them on the importance of baby teeth and provide caregivers with simple steps to protect them. Our main call to action was to make sure kids drink water, not juice, between meals and at bedtime.
To reinforce this suggestion, we built the CGA campaign on solid information. Research showed juice has a lot of sugar and it fuels cavity-causing bacteria in kids’ mouths. Yet, state survey results said 87% of parents gave their children juice several times a week. Seventy-two percent said they believed juice was healthy for their kids.
Nationally, over 50% of 5-to 9-year-old children have at least one cavity or filling. That proportion increases to 78% among 17-year-olds. So, naturally one of our hopes was that the campaign might spark a national movement on children’s oral health. We’re glad to say that one ad in particular caught Delta Dental of Kansas’ attention. As a result, we’ve now collaborated to take our message to a new state. Delta Dental of Kansas will run the ads in Wichita and Hutchinson, Kansas. There are plans to expand into Topeka and Kansas City soon.
Increasing our reach is an important step towards achieving a national movement against tooth decay. We are thrilled that these messages so near and dear to our hearts will now reach even more communities in need, and with other states already interested, we’re even more excited to see how far this campaign can go!
Want to help us spread the Cavities Get Around message? Save a smile today!
Wyatt Hornsby is the campaign director at Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation. Find more information about the foundation here.