Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#Colgate Building Smiles Tour

I went to Sebastian, FL to see the Colgate Building Smiles Tour, to learn more about this program that Colgate started back in 1991. The Bright Smiles Bright Future program was started back in 1991, and it is an oral health education program designed to improve the oral health of underserved children.

My family's oral care tends to usually be first thing in the morning after we wake up or after breakfast, and then again right before bed. The toothbrushes we use vary between our Colgate Wave toothbrushes that we receive from our dentist and either the Sonicare or Oral B electric toothbrushes. We also vary on toothpaste types from plain to whitening, and I learned what not to let our 12 year old son use that day!  I go to the dentist every 4 months for cleanings, due to having a permanent retainer on the front 6 bottom teeth. My husband and son go to the dentist every 6 month for cleanings and visits. They tend to use floss picks for flossing, and I vary between floss picks and gum picks and floss with floss threaders.  I wasn't as diligent with my oral care when I was my son's age as I am now.

Our usual dilemmas or challenges with our dental care are trying to make sure that all of us are brushing properly and making sure that we floss daily. Our son, who's 12 now, tends to brush too quickly and I've had to remind him to spend more time brushing all of the areas. We let him start brushing his own teeth around age 7, if I remember correctly.

Well, now that you've heard about my family, on to the tour!  The #Colgate Building Smiles tour bus was located in front of a WalMart in Sebastian, FL, and it was quite easy to find.  Two gentlemen wearing red shirts that identified them with the program were standing nearby. They helped to see if parents wanted their children to have a free dental screening that day. Right as you step onto the bus, there was a  blow-up of a Colgate toothpaste tube, hanging in the window, near where the rear-view mirror would be. I met Dr. Barry Ragone and Cristiane Rocha right as I got on the bus. Dr. Ragone was the dentist performing the dental screenings that day. Cristiane was the coordinator for Colgate, scheduling with the tours and assisting in instructing the children on dental care.  My son didn't get to go  on the tour with me (he had chosen to stay at home and play on his XBox), and my husband wandered around WalMart while I was in the bus.

When children came up in the bus, Cristiane spoke with the parents and asked the children about their teeth and how often they brushed. The parents were given a consent for to fill out before they could be seen by the dentist. They were instructed to brush after breakfast and before bedtime.  While this was going on, an animated video showing Dr. Rabbit, their mascot, was playing on a tv on the wall. As I looked around the bus, I saw pictures on the wall of fruits and vegetables, part of a healthy diet for teeth. There was a model of teeth on the opposite counter, along with Dr. Rabbit and a picture of the progression of dental caries.  The main ideas about the Building Smiles tour were education and prevention, and to make a child feel comfortable in a dental chair.

Once the child was ready, he or she sat in the dental chair and Dr. Ragone counted how many teeth they had, and checked on how the teeth looked. Then, a dental report card was given to the parent, and a goody bag was given to the child. I watched a few children have their teeth assessed during a two hour period. Some of the children were eager, especially a little blond-haired boy who was almost 4 years old, to get their teeth checked. The children that came in while I was there seemed to have already been going to a dentist on the outside, and were stopping in to have an assessment to see how they've been doing with their dental care. Quite a few parents were letting the children brush their own teeth and monitoring how well the children did.

Crystal from Surviving a Teacher's Salary blog, Dr. Barry Ragone, and Cristiane Rocha 

Between Cristiane and Dr. Ragone, I found out that parents should start brushing their child's teeth around age 2, though when the teeth started coming in, the parent could wipe the teeth. Flossing could start around age 2 and a half, with the parent doing it, and around ages 6 to 7 for the child to floss his or her own teeth. Whitening toothpaste was not recommended for use to a child was in their late teens, per Dr. Ragone, since it's abrasive on the teeth. I found that rather interesting, and realized that I had never asked our family dentist about it. I definitely made a mental note to get regular Colgate put on the grocery list when I got home that day! I definitely learned a lot about the Colgate Building Smiles program that day! If one comes to your area, definitely go and visit the bus!

See Barb's full public timeline at !

For more information and for tour dates,  Building Smiles Together
Connect with Colgate on Facebook and on Twitter .

It was a lot of fun and I really enjoying the learning experience!


Disclosure: This post has been compensated as a part of a social shopper insights study for #CollectiveBias. The opinions and real life information expressed were my own!
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