Promoting oral health for children, especially children under the age of three, is key to preventing chronic tooth decay.
Advocacy is a broad term for strategies to advance a point of view or on speaking up on behalf of a group.
Advocacy comes in different forms and levels and is not necessarily synonymous with lobbying. Advocacy may include educating public officials about the need for dental care for children or educating constituents about the issues so they can seek change. CDHP advances policies to improve children's access to oral health by developing educational materials for the dental community, elected officials, and state/local program staff; working within coalitions to educate policy makers; and advising regulatory agency officials.
The Children's Dental Health Project advocates through:
- Networking with communities of interest
- Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
CDHP provides monitoring and assessment of numerous environments including:
- pediatric dental environment
- state policy environment
- child advocacy environment
- press/news environment
- Strategic Communications.
By identifying opportunities to advocate for kids oral health CDHP is able to cast our issue based on current interests.
Why should we advocate for children's oral health?
Promoting oral health for children, especially children under the age of three, is key to preventing chronic tooth decay. Although most American's do not view tooth decay as a disease similar to diabetes or heart disease, tooth decay is the number one childhood chronic condition- five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Dispelling the myth that oral health is strictly a cosmetic issue is important to children's future, especially to spare them from a life-long struggle with chronic disease and pain. Addressing oral health as part of a broader health policy or children's agenda allows for a greater focus on understanding and influencing the infrastructure or systems that affects many, not just one individual at a time.
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