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University of Iowa News Release

Release: Feb. 11, 2003

UI Students Promote National Children’s Dental Health Month

Recognizing that February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, students from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry have organized several activities to promote oral health and emphasize the importance of dental care for kids.

Each Saturday this month, students will present puppet shows and dental health presentations at the Iowa Children’s Museum at Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville. The students will perform two to four shows between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Children and parents who attend will receive free toothbrushes, toothpaste samples and information pamphlets. Students also will present puppet shows from 6-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28 during an admission-free evening at the museum.

This is the third year that representatives from the College of Dentistry have joined the museum in promoting Children’s Dental Health Month. They previously introduced a dental gallery that includes a large mural, 18 dental health-related children’s books and plastic models for children to practice toothbrush skills.

Also this month, dental students will conduct story time at the Iowa City Public Library, Thursday, Feb. 20 from 10:30-11 a.m. in Meeting Room A.

All events are sponsored by UI students affiliated with the American Society of Dentistry for Children, in conjunction with the department of pediatric dentistry at the College of Dentistry.

National Children’s Dental Health Month grew out of a one-day event in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1941. In 1949, the American Dental Association sponsored the first national observance of Children’s Dental Health Day, which was expanded to a weeklong program in 1955 and to the month of February in 1981. Today it is marked in communities across the country and armed service bases abroad.

Despite this attention, dental disease affects many children. A 1996 national survey found tooth decay in 38 percent of kids between ages 2 and 9. Groups like the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that children first see a dentist around age 1, or shortly after they get their first baby teeth. Early dental care, good oral health habits and a healthy diet can ensure that children maintain their smiles.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5141 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT(S): Lin Larson, 319/335-9569,, Program Contact: Cathy Skotowski, 319/335-7494