Friday, February 09, 2007

Tooth or Consequences

Did you know that February is National Children's Dental Health Month? While the American Dental Association invites you to be part of the GrIN Crowd, the Portland Children's Museum invites you to a Celebration of Smiles.

But sometimes, a little fear can become a real motivating force. I have to wonder whether it was a bit of a scare tactic when the School of Dentistry participated in Tooth or Consequences, a "suitcase" program introducing dental care to youngsters.

The brainchild of Dr. Richard Park of Portland and Dr. Chester Gibson of McMinnville, the program was developed by the Oregon Dental Association, OMSI, and the School of Dentistry here at OHSU. Each suitcase held portable demonstrations and mini-labs which were taken into classrooms around the state starting in 1976. (For complete details on the program and its development, see Tomme, C. "Tooth or Consequences" travling suitcases teach Oregon children about dentistry. Journal of the ADA 1977 May;94(5) 858-60)

The presentations were clearly designed to entertain and educate. But the pictures in the Historical Image Collection show groups of children clustered together on braided rugs, and some of them surely look scared--I mean, motivated!

Keep the lessons of your youth in mind this month as you munch on your Valentines candies!

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