Public Health Campaign of the Month: Save the Fairy Tale Kingdom with Your Toothbrush!
Mar 10, 2014, 11:53 AM
NewPublicHealth continues a new series to highlight some of the best public health education and outreach campaigns every month. Submit your ideas for Public Health Campaign of the Month to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent dental surveys find that less than half of children in America brush their teeth twice a day and research shows that dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the United States.
To encourage kids to brush their teeth, the Ad Council recently launched a neat mobile app aimed at bringing public service announcements (PSAs) right to where they can be most useful—in this case, the bathroom sink. The new PSA is called “Toothsavers” and it's designed to encourage kids to brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day.
The back story of Toothsavers is that an evil sorceress has cast a wicked spell, leaving everyone’s mouths to rot and be overrun by cavities. Now it's up to little toothbrushers to help Toothy and the Toothsavers save everyone's teeth!
Kids use the app to swipe and tab in order to brush and scrub away the spell for each of the kingdom’s denizens, including the Dragon, Little Red Riding Hood and the Pirate. And for every few days a child brushes their own teeth for two minutes, twice a day, they unlock a new character on the Toothsaver game. Brush for 30 days and kids get the chance to defeat the evil sorceress herself.
Features of the app include:
- 10 different two-minute animations to add some fun to daily tooth brushing
- 10 cartoon teeth that move on the screen when activated by a voice
- An interactive map to chart daily tooth brushing
- Parents can connect on Facebook and post whenever their child reaches a brushing milestone
Toothsavers is a program of the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, a coalition of 36 oral health organizations including the American Dental Association. The campaign’s goal is to motivate parents to take action to reduce their children’s risk of oral disease by making sure their kids are brushing their teeth for two minutes, twice a day. Toothsavers is the first mobile app to be entirely created by the Ad Council. “The game represents a huge milestone for us in our efforts to use gaming and mobile technology to effect social change,” said Ellyn Fisher, Vice President, Public Relations and Social Media.
This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.