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PIA Press Release

DepEd launches 7 o'clock toothbrushing habit among 1st graders

Quezon City (12 October) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) today launched its National Oral Health Program that will create a tooth brushing habit among grade 1 schoolchildren nationwide through simultaneous tooth brushing in Pasig, Cebu and Davao cities.

Dubbed as "The 7 o'Clock Tooth Brushing Habit," the program is aimed at addressing the problem of poor oral hygiene among grade 1 students by enjoining all public elementary schools to have their grade 1 pupils brush their teeth at 7am everyday. The program also integrates oral health education in the classroom through teacher guides, posters, story books, dvd's and parent's brochures.

The National Oral Health Survey conducted by DepEd in 200 showed that 97.1% of 6-year old and 78% of 12-year old school children have dental caries. Dental health problems remain unabated through the years.

"The problem of tooth decay is severely affecting our pupils' performance in school. They could not focus in learning because of the pain and this is an alarming problem we need to address promptly through preventive and curative interventions such as the 7 o'clock tooth brushing habit," Secretary Lapus said.

"From this day onwards, our students should brush their teeth at 7am in the morning before their classes start and I'm calling on school administrators to make sure that this exercise is done properly," he added.

The 7 o'Clock Tooth Brushing Habit is being undertaken with the support of Colgate Palmolive Philippines, Inc. (CPPI) through its Bright Smiles, Bright Future (BSBF) Program. CPPI is donating P72.2 million worth of toothpastes, toothbrushes to 6.9 million grade one students and oral health education materials to 139, 235 first grade classes for a period of three years.

The CPPI's move is in response to DepEd's call for greater private sector support for education through its Adopt-A-School Program (ASP). Since it was relaunched by Secretary Lapus in September 2006, ASP has generated close to P4.5 billion worth of contributions and pledges, a bulk of which is concentrated on health and nutrition.

DepEd's National Oral Health Program is being implemented as part of President Arroyo's Health Education Reform Order or R.A. 595 which integrates preventive health in education. Together with private sector medical and dental professionals, medical and dental check-ups as well as interventions will be provided to all elementary and high school students alongside modules on preventive health. (DepEd) [top]

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