MONTGOMERY – A healthy smile is important to children, both for their overall health and self-esteem. The Oral Health Office of the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is launching its smile photo contest, and it is open to all third-grade students residing in Alabama.
Two children, one girl and one boy, will be selected from photo submissions as the overall winners of the “Share Your Smile with Alabama” campaign. The winners will appear at a live news conference from Montgomery and will be featured in ADPH marketing campaigns to promote children’s oral health in the state.
Cavities (also known as caries or tooth decay) are one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in the United States. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than other children.
State Dental Health Director Dr. Tommy Johnson said, “Teaching children to develop the habit of brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits, helps them keep healthy smiles. We are sponsoring this contest to bring attention to the need for children’s oral health care and to remind everyone that dental decay is preventable.”
For the “Share Your Smile with Alabama” campaign, parents can submit photographs of their children’s smiling faces to the ADPH, and the public will vote for its favorites online. A panel of judges will then make the final selections from the top three vote-getters for boys and girls. Photo submissions are due by January 8. To cap off the month of February, National Children's Dental Health Month, winners will be announced February 28.
The ADPH Oral Health Office is dedicated to preventing dental disease for Alabama's citizens by promoting and developing quality, cost-effective community and school-based preventive, educational and early treatment programs which emphasize elimination of oral health disparities.
For more information and contest rules, visit http://alabamapublichealth.gov/oralhealth/contest.html.