Third graders with winning smiles to help state promote oral health

Third graders with winning smiles to help state promote oral health
A third-grade boy and girl will win the ‘Share Your Smile with Alabama’ contest, making them the featured attraction in upcoming state marketing promoting flossing and brushing. (Source: ADPH)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A third-grade boy and girl will win the ‘Share Your Smile with Alabama’ contest, making them the featured attraction in upcoming state marketing promoting flossing and brushing.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) advertising will emphasize the link between dental health and eating, playing and success in school.

Parents of third graders can submit photos of their children’s faces to the ADPH. A panel of judges will select one girl and boy winner. The deadline for the submission of photos is Nov. 28. Winners will be announced Jan. 9, 2019.

The winners will appear at a news conference in the Capital City, and will be part of ADPH marketing encouraging children to take care of their teeth.

“Teaching children to develop the habit of brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits, helps them keep healthy smiles," said State Dental Health Director Dr. Tommy Johnson. "We are sponsoring the contest again this year to bring attention to the need for children’s oral health care, and to remind everyone that dental decay is preventable.”

Cavities are one of the most common chronic conditions among children in the U.S., the ADPH said. 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 are more likely to miss school and earn lower grades than children who enjoy appropriate dental care.

Haedyn Leverette, the 2018 boy winner from Montgomery, wishes he could compete for the title again. “It felt really good being the winner," he said. "I liked seeing my picture in the magazine and everyone telling me congratulations. I wish I could win it again next year.”

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