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The Children's Oral Health Institute

Lessons In A Lunch Box Road Map: Guidelines to Introduce the Program in Public Schools

Project Type: 
Grant Type: 
DTA Foundation

Lessons in a Lunch Box: Healthy Teeth Essentials & Facts About Snacks™ is an oral health literacy program designed to empower children and their families with the proper knowledge about personal oral health care. The program addresses routine dental health maintenance, dietary guidelines and good meal choices and careers in dentistry using a exclusively designed lunch box.

The lunch container illustrates flossing and brushing on the inside both in English and Spanish.  The USDA nutritional food plate (My Plate) diagram is also displayed on the inside of the box. Children in grades 1, 2 and 3 are encouraged to consider careers in dentistry. A reflective sticker at the opening reads, "See yourself becoming a dentist, a dental hygienist, a dental assistant or a dental technician. The lunch box provides children with their very own “Dental Care in a Carrot” case to keep all of the dental hygiene essentials together. The carrot case is designed to store a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and a rinse cup.

This lunch box/carrot case ensemble offers many children living in poverty a delightful "sanctuary" for their personal dental hygiene products. The lessons taught through this program focus on disease prevention, wellness and how to avoid the two dietary diseases which too often plague children attending Title 1 schools - tooth decay and obesity.

The Children's Oral Health Institute will use the 2013-14 DTAF funding leverage to provide a  "Lessons In A Lunch Box Road Map: Guidelines to Introduce the Program in Public Schools." The road map is being developed to help interested dental schools/dental students (ASDA, SNDA, FQHC) and other organizations to independently offer the program and move toward helping to incorporate oral health education in public schools. 

The information needed to independently sustain the program provided via a Lessons In A Lunch Box Road Map can strengthen the sustainability of the program by creating more opportunities for dental schools and states throughout the country to coordinate the initiative within their local framework. This program's sovereignty has the potential to create more statewide visibility, attracting larger scale funding potentially from state government, local corporations, foundations and individual donors. It has the potential as well to create national interest that might offer federal financial latitude based on demographics. The road map will offer meaningful recommendations to incorporate the program into state public school curriculum. It will recommend the program be considered for local/state dental school public health curriculum as one of the community outreach options for acceptance by the faculty toward graduation requirements. Both could lead to larger scale funding. All address the leverage afforded COHI by the DTAF funding.