United Way of Southwest Virginia launches “Brushing is Fun” campaign

Music video encourages kids in Southwest Virginia to establish healthy dental habits

Carlton “Starr” Releford, who produced the song used in the “Brushing is Fun” campaign brushes his teeth with a class at Kids Central, Inc.

Norton, VA (February 23, 2018) – According to the Virginia Department of Health, Southwest Virginia has the highest number of children with untreated tooth decay in the state. According to the CDC, something simple can be done to improve those statistics: brushing.

The American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes, twice a day, but two minutes can seem like a long time. United Way of Southwest Virginia knows that forming good teeth-brushing habits at an early age can save children from oral health issues later in life, so they’ve developed a tool they say might help parents and their children have some fun establishing the two-minute, twice-a-day habit: a music video.

“Oral health is a vital indicator of quality of life,” said Travis Staton, President and CEO of United Way of Southwest Virginia. “With a grant provided by the LENOWISCO Planning District through the DentaQuest Foundation, United Way has been able to convene community partners to launch this region wide campaign.”

The “Brushing is Fun” campaign launched in February, National Children’s Dental Health Month. The commercial for the campaign features two tooth fairies directing parents and kids to BrushingIsFun.com, where they can watch the two-minute music video while they brush their teeth. The commercial has made and continues to make appearances in United Way of Southwest Virginia’s service area – on social media, in movie theaters, TV stations, and radio stations across the region. The music video hosted on BrushingIsFun.com features Carlton “S.T.A.R.R.” Releford, the motivational rap artist who wrote the song, and many community members from the region.

Carlton “Starr” Releford, who produced the song used in the “Brushing is Fun” campaign visits with a class at Kids Central, Inc.

Delegate Todd Pillion provided a written statement to support the campaign: “As a delegate and as a pediatric dentist, the health of our region is one of my top priorities. It’s also one of United Way’s priorities. I am truly grateful to have been involved in the initial development stages of this campaign in November 2016. To see it come to fruition is exciting, and I am grateful for the time United Way of Southwest Virginia spent creating a campaign that is not only educational and entertaining, but it will actually be used as a tool to improve the health of Southwest Virginia.”

The campaign is targeted at parents and children, but many of the head start locations in Southwest Virginia are using the music video as well to revamp their already-scheduled teeth-brushing time, including the Kids Central location in Norton, VA.

Jennifer Owens, Health Services Specialist at Kids Central, Inc. said, “In our classrooms, we incorporate brushing after our meals. I’ve been in this job for 24 years, and we’ve come a long way. This music video makes it even more fun, and hopefully that carries home, too. Thank you for doing this for our children.”

Watch the music video

United Way of Southwest Virginia is fighting for the health of the region by promoting healthy eating and physical activity, expanding access to quality health care, lowering the cost of prescription medications, building a more resilient community, and integrating health into early childhood development. Find out more at netnswvarelief.wpengine.com/health.

United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia. Through an initiative-based cradle-to-career approach, United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce. United Way convenes cross-sector partners to make an impact on the most complex problems in our region. Through collaboration with government, business, nonprofit and individuals, United Way innovates for positive, sustainable social change. With a footprint that covers almost 15% of the state of Virginia, United Way of Southwest Virginia serves Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, and Wise, and the cities of Galax and Norton. Find out more at netnswvarelief.wpengine.com.