Photos of decaying baby teeth will greet New York subway riders each time they climb on the train over the next few months. The arresting images are part of the New York Department of Health’s campaign to improve oral health in childrenby educating their parents.
The campaign, which promotes brushing teeth and limiting sugary drinks, seeks to address a larger unresolved policy issue that the United States has been struggling with for several years: how to provide affordable dental care to its citizens. New York’s Department of Health (DOH) takes a preventive approach by focusing on children, but their project begs the question of what will happen to the oral health of these kids in the upcoming years. Even if citizens develop good dental habits when they’re young, long-term oral health depends on regular visits to the dentist. Unfortunately, the dentist’s office is a luxury not easily accessible for the underserved New Yorkers who are the primary target group of the ads.
Just a quick look at the subway posters shows that the DOH is well aware of this lack of access. Only a few designs actually suggest visiting the dentist; most posters focus instead on what parents can do at home.
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