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World Record-Setting 'Brush-Off' Proves Life's a Lot More Fun With Teeth

PHOENIX, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Exactly 1,367 people gathered to break the world record for the most people simultaneously brushing their teeth in a "Brush-Off" event on April 19, 1999.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990419/LAM166 )

While the Brush-Off may briefly point a collective bristle at the poor state of children's oral health on a national level, it officially launched the ongoing "Life's A Lot More Fun With Teeth" oral health awareness and educational campaign geared to Arizona children. The event and campaign are spearheaded by the Healthy Smiles Partnership, a group of public/private entities committed to addressing the poor status of children's oral health in Arizona. The partnership includes: Arizona Department of Health Services Office, of Oral Health; City of Phoenix; Delta Dental; Honeywell; Phoenix Coyotes Goals for Kids Foundation; and St. Luke's Charitable Health Trust.

But the poor status of children's oral health transcends state lines, making it a national issue. In fact, tooth decay -- a preventable disease that destroys natural tooth structure and ultimately a tooth's nerve -- is the leading chronic childhood disease in the United States. According to a 1997 Public Health Reports study, more than half of all children ages 6-8 and two-thirds of all 15-year old adolescents have experienced tooth decay.

Children with untreated tooth decay can suffer from speech, learning and eating problems -- and ultimately tooth loss. The American Journal of Public Health indicates that pain and suffering due to oral health problems results in nearly 52 million school hours missed annually by children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit a dentist by one year of age followed by visits every six months to monitor and maintain good dental health.

The grand record-setting took place on Monday, April 19, 1999 at Orangedale School, in Phoenix. Arranged in a toothbrush formation while simultaneously brushing their teeth for 3 minutes and 3 seconds, 1,367 participants (mostly K-8 students) broke the 1998 record set at the Taste of North Hampton event in Massachusetts with 1,180 participants. While the event surpassed the previous record, the Healthy Smiles Partnership will receive official word from the Guinness Book record office in six weeks.

The Healthy Smiles Partnership was created in response to the alarming statistic that four out of ten children ages 6 to 15 in Arizona have untreated tooth decay, and five percent are in need of urgent care due to toothaches and/or infection. Approximately 16 percent of these children have never been to a dentist. Many of the oral health problems afflicting Arizona youth are preventable. The Healthy Smiles Partnership aims to positively affect oral hygiene practices of Arizona children through a statewide awareness and educational public service campaign.

SOURCE Healthy Smiles Partnership

-0- 04/19/99

/NOTE TO EDITORS: **Additional photos available upon request**/

/CONTACT: Brenda Sperduti of Healthy Smiles Partnership, 602-971-8157, bsperduti@home.com/

/Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990419/LAM166 or NewsCom, 213-237-5431/

CO: Healthy Smiles Partnership ST: Arizona IN: HEA SU:



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