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31 Jul 2011 | Auxiliary

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Colgate doubles commitment to help more Australian schools

Oral Health Promotion Prevention

An alarming 49 percent of Australian children aged six years suffer from some sort of tooth decay.* However, throughout Australia, more and more of the nation's preschool and primary school children are learning how to look after their teeth, thanks to Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF), a proven school educational resource from Colgate.

Following the program's continued success, Colgate has announced that it is doubling its commitment to the BSBF program over the next five years, with the goal of reaching 60 percent of Australian preschools and primary schools. To date it has successfully helped educate 3.5 million Australian children.

BSBF is a well-established oral health education program for children and families to help children to understand the importance of brushing twice a day and taking responsibility for their own dental health at an early age.

The program, designed for children aged three to nine years, brings dental health to life with ‘Dr Rabbit' and ‘Dr Brushwell' and via toothbrush and paste packs, an educational DVD, posters, brushing charts, learning guides and activity books. The program helps to build self esteem and good health practices to create lifelong habits of brushing twice a day.

Ms Dinah McDonald, a teacher at Hills Adventist College in Castle Hill, Sydney, uses the BSBF program to help her year-three students understand why it's important to brush. She says, "I've incorporated the BSBF program into my health topics unit for the past three years. The materials in the kit are easy to adapt into other areas that I teach and the program lends itself to be adapted to a teacher's own style.

"Dental hygiene is an important topic to teach year-three students. At this age, the children are taking responsibility for their own personal hygiene and understanding the importance of it. My students love the program because they're learning about dental hygiene in a fun way. After watching the educational DVD we practise brushing our teeth in class. This helps the kids understand why it's important to brush their teeth properly and helps to create lifelong habits. I find that anything we do at school, children are much more likely to do at home."

Dr Peter Alldritt, Chairman of the Oral Health Committee for the ADA said "Education at a young age of good dental health routines, as simple as brushing twice a day, are key to establishing lifelong habits. Curriculum-linked resources that aim to do so are invaluable, not just in the classroom, but with their broader reach at home with all the family".

For generations, Colgate has been educating children and their families on the importance of taking care of their teeth. The BSBF program has, over the last 14 years, made it easy for teachers and childcare providers to integrate dental health education within their existing curriculum areas with engaging materials throughout the school year. With take-home elements, the BSBF program helps extend its reach beyond the classroom to home and engages all the family, an important part of its methodology.

Dr Susan Cartwright, Scientific Affairs Manager at Colgate said "The Bright Smiles, Bright Futures school program has been extremely successful to date, reaching 3.5 million children across Australia. There is a continued need for oral health education in order to minimise the potential health and financial consequences that can otherwise follow. We are delighted to announce Colgate's continued commitment to oral health education with the doubling of the BSBF program over the next five years with the goal of 60 percent of Australian preschool and primary schools accessing the resource".

* The National Child Dental Health Survey 2003/4.

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