Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me

Welcome to Sesame Street’s press room for our newest oral health initiativeHealthy Teeth, Healthy Me.

This bilingual, multimedia outreach initiative, made in partnership with Sam’s Club and MetLife Foundation, leverages the power of the beloved Sesame Street characters to motivate children 2 to 5 years of age, their parents, and their caregivers to care for children’s oral health…early.

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project overview

The Project

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, in partnership with Sam’s Club and MetLife Foundation, has developed Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me, a bilingual (English/Spanish), multimedia outreach initiative. The initiative leverages the power of the beloved Sesame Street characters to motivate children 2 to 5 years of age, their parents, and their caregivers to care for children’s oral health…early.

The project objectives include

  • Empowering children to make healthy choices that will have a positive impact on their oral health.
  • Educating adults about the benefits of young children’s preventive oral care and recommended strategies to establish a foundation for healthy habits early in life.

Project components

The bilingual (English and Spanish) Outreach Kit will include:

  • An original Sesame Street DVD featuring songs by Elmo and Abby.
  • A Guide for Families providing useful information and tools to use with children to reinforce important routines that keep teeth healthy and clean.
  • An online Brushing Teeth game engaging children in brushing all their teeth.
  • A digital Guide for Providers supporting health practitioners as they create partnerships with families.

The Need

One of the most common health problems affecting young children is dental caries (tooth decay) in their primary teeth.1 Over 40% to 50% of children will be affected by tooth decay before age five.2 Of the 4 million children born each year, more than half will have cavities by the time they reach second grade.3 According to the May 2000 Surgeon General’s report, Oral Health in America, more than 51 million school hours are lost each year to dental-related conditions.4 Tooth decay is highly preventable, so high-quality preventive education is crucial.

1. CDC. (2005). Surveillance for dental caries, dental sealants, tooth retention, edentulism, and enamel fluorosis, United States, 1988–1994 and 1999–2002. Retrieved
from http://www.cdc.gov/MMWR/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5403a1.htm on February 24, 2011.
2. Pierce, K.M., et. al. (2002). Accuracy of pediatric primary care providers’ screening and referral for early childhood caries. Pediatrics, 109(5).
3. Key points from the testimony of Dr. Allen Finkelstein, Chief Dental Officer, AmeriChoice testimony to Congress. Retrieved from http://domesticpolicy.oversight.house.gov/documents/20070516164323.pdf on November 25, 2008.
4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, 2000.

Key Messages

Children

  • My teeth are important to me. Keeping my teeth healthy helps to keep my whole body healthy, too!
  • I show off my teeth to my mom, dad, and other people like the dentist, dental hygienist, doctor, or nurse who can help take good care of my teeth.
  • I brush every tooth every morning and night…to keep my teeth healthy, clean, and bright.
  • My teeth like healthy foods like fruit, veggies, low-fat cheese, and water.

Parents

  • Start early. Care for your child’s first teeth.
  • Help your child brush his teeth.
  • Dental check-ups are important at every age.

Project Overview

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funders

MetLife Foundation

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife's long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Our 35-year commitment to building a secure future for individuals and communities worldwide is reflected in our focus on empowering older adults, preparing young people and building livable communities.

More About the MetLife Foundation

Sam's Club

In 2010, the Sam's Club Giving Program made cash and in kind contributions of more than $89 million which included donating more than 39 million meals. We support community-based programs that empower young people, families and small business owners to make smart-choices that lead to healthy and bright futures.

More About Sam's Club
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