Irvine, CA (PressExposure) April 03, 2012 -- As part of ongoing efforts to serve families that lack access to regular dental care, the Children and Families Commission of Orange County is partnering with Healthy Smiles For Kids of Orange County to distribute Sesame Street's free "Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me" kits that promote good dental health habits among children ages 2 to 5. Sesame Workshop partnered with Sam's Club and the MetLife Foundation to create a bilingual, multi-media initiative that leverages the Sesame Street characters to motivate children and parents to care about children's dental health.
The Children and Families Commission of Orange County has long supported Healthy Smiles For Kids of Orange County. The nonprofit organization provides urgent, preventive and operative dental care through six community clinics, including a mobile dental van. The Commission earlier this year approved a one-time "catalytic" investment of up to $20 million to expand the programs' size and ability to reach greater numbers of children in need of dental care over the next 10 years. Healthy Smiles For Kids of Orange County will distribute the Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me kits to families who participate in its classes and programs, and at select community events.
Locally, 14,000 kits are available. They contain an original Sesame Street DVD, a family booklet, public service messages, an online community health providers guide, an interactive online game, and a downloadable song designed to make brushing teeth fun. The kits also are available at http://www.sesamestreet.org/teeth and can be accessed on iTunes and Amazon VOD in the "Learn Along with Sesame" section.
"Developing good dental health habits is critical for children, and we're pleased to be able to partner with Sesame Workshop and Healthy Smiles For Kids to assist the 'Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me' initiative in spreading the word to families with young children," said Michael Ruane, executive director of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County. "Poor dental health poses considerable health risks to children, risks that are totally preventable. Sesame Workshop designed these kits to emphasize the importance of good dental health in a fun and engaging way, and to show how taking a few simple steps can make a huge difference in children's long-term health and success."
In addition to improved overall health, Ruane said good dental care literally helps keep children in school and focused on their work. "Every year in America, 51 million school hours are lost as a result of dental-related issues, so it's hard to overstate the importance of adopting effective dental health habits," he said. What's more, between 40 percent and 50 percent of the nation's children suffer from tooth decay before they turn 5, a fact that underscores the urgent need for public awareness initiatives such as Sesame Street's "Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me," Ruane said.
About the Children and Families Commission of Orange County The Children and Families Commission of Orange County oversees the allocation of funds from Proposition 10, which added a 50-cent tax on tobacco products sold in California. Almost $47 million was allocated last year to fund 170 programs that served more than 165,800 young children. Funds help pay for early education, pediatric primary and specialty health care, children's dental, homeless prevention, and child development programs for children from the prenatal stage to age 5 and their families. The Commission's goal is to ensure all children are healthy and ready to learn when they enter school. For more information, please visit http://www.occhildrenandfamilies.com.