Behind the Strategy

The non-profit Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation has a goal of eradicating early childhood tooth decay. The goal of eradicating tooth decay in Colorado’s youth is about much more than saving kids from a filling. We want to save children from going under general anesthetic and having half of their teeth extracted due to decay.

We’re not talking about few kids either – over 3,000 children a year at Children’s Hospital Colorado alone.

When we started research to build the strategy for the campaign, it seemed simple. “Why can’t everyone just be better about brushing their kid’s teeth?” But all parents want the best for their children. We found it wasn’t a lack of effort, but a lack of education.

When we asked the community directly, we found out that brushing was important to them. Baby teeth weren’t seen as important though because they eventually fall out. Ah ha! Now we had something to work with.

From our experience leading many behavior change campaigns, we know these types of insights fuel the most effective communications. But we still had to find the most persuasive message.

The message that resonated most with people was how much sugar was in juice. It’s common for parents to believe that juice is a healthy part of their children’s diet and it is often served many times a day. But juice can have more sugar than parents realize, so they are bathing their kids’ teeth in cavity-causing sugar all day. We’d finally found that next level insight – the basis for this campaign.

Twenty grams of sugar in a box of apple juice? How much is 20 grams?

There are two donuts worth of sugar in one 6 oz. box of apple juice. Does that make you think twice about serving it to your kids?

This helps us educate caregivers about the importance of baby teeth. It also provides families with an easy call to action: limit juice to mealtimes, and serve water all other times.