A coalition of dental organizations has launched a nationwide initiative – urging parents to encourage their children to brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day. Sara Schlievert, community health consultant with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says the “2min2x” (two minutes, two times) campaign follows a survey showing less than half of parents report their child brushes their teeth at least twice a day.

“We’ve found there is a general lack of awareness by parents on what’s needed to prevent tooth decay and just the importance of oral health,” Schlievert said. The initiative coincides with National Dental Hygiene Month in October. A website (www.2min2x.org/) dedicated to the effort features two-minute videos starring cartoon characters talking about proper ways for kids to care for their teeth.

“It’s important they use the toothbrush properly so part of this ad campaign is helping to instruct them about brushing along the gum line, making sure they brush all surfaces of the teeth, using gentle strokes and just the importance of (brushing) two times a day,” Schlievert said.

The campaign advises children should begin using fluoride toothpaste at age 2. “In addition to that, regular dental visits and flossing are important,” Schlievert said. “But the key thing with this message is just to really have one thing that parents can focus on and if we can at least give that across, we’ll be making a huge impact on children’s oral health.”