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Giving Children a Healthy Smile

“Good oral health habits impact a child for a lifetime.”

“A mom’s oral health affects her child’s health.”

These simple messages earned First 5 San Diego’s oral health commercials the top Public Service Announcement award from the Public Relations Society of America, the world’s largest organization for public relations professionals.

“First 5 San Diego is dedicated to building community capacity through parent and public education,” said Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, Chairwoman of the First 5 Commission of San Diego.  “It is an honor that First 5 San Diego’s Oral Health PSAs have been recognized for messages that promote optimal early childhood development so that children have the opportunity to reach their highest potential in school and in life.”

The bilingual commercials highlight the importance of regular dental check-ups for pregnant mothers, infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Click here to view the commercials.

The PSAs are a part of First 5’s Oral Health Initiative, which provides dental checkups and treatment for young children and pregnant women.

Healthy teeth and gums are essential to the overall health of infants, children and adults, and dental disease can have serious and expensive consequences for children if left untreated. These include pain, infections, difficulty eating, and tooth loss.

Children with dental disease may also have trouble sleeping, talking, concentrating, and may even miss school. Good dental health is important for pregnant women, too. The bacteria from the mother’s tooth decay can affect the health of her unborn child.

“Dental disease is one of the most prevalent childhood diseases in the nation, but it is 100 percent preventable,” said Executive Director Barbara Jiménez. “Over one-third (36.4%) of San Diego County’s children ages 5 and under have never visited a dentist.”

The first five years are critical to a child’s development and shape success in school and in life. First 5 San Diego educates parents and others to help children during these early years. The goal is to help ensure that every child in San Diego County enters school ready to succeed.

“First 5 San Diego fills a critical need in the community as there are limited funding sources for oral health services,” said Nick Macchione, Director of the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency and First 5 San Diego Commissioner. “This focus supports the County’s Live Well, San Diego! plan to Build Better Health, and oral health is a vital component of creating completely healthy kids .”

First 5 San Diego services are available throughout San Diego County. Most services and resources are free. For more information call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785) or visit www.first5sandiego.org.

Source:  San Diego County News Center http://www.countynewscenter.com/news/giving-children-healthy-smile

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