Stop the Pop focuses on kids' dental health

TROY – The Miami County Dental Clinic, with the help from some friends, will be spreading the word to Stop the Pop during February, which is Children’s Dental Health Month.

The education campaign will focus on encouraging children to drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, but is relevant to people of all ages, said Melissa Keller, a dental hygienist who serves on the dental clinic’s board.

The clinic is partnering with Upper Valley Medical Center and the UVMC Foundation for the Stop the Pop campaign. The program will initially focus on educating parents.

Students in all Miami County school districts will receive educational information in their backpacks to take home. In addition, posters with Stop the Pop information and quick facts will be placed in schools, libraries, pediatricians’ offices and at the Miami County Public Health Department.

“We are providing information to families because education, we’ve found, helps break the cycle of not making the right choices. If you are making an informed choice, it is generally a better choice,” Keller said.

“It is important for all of us, particularly parents of young children, to understand just how destructive the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is to our health,” said Kathie Scarbrough, president and executive director of the UVMC Foundation.

“Not only does sugar harm our teeth, it also harms our bodies in many subtle ways that fosters disease rather than good health. Please, ‘re-think your drink.’ Water and milk are the best choices for growing children,” Scarbrough said.

The Miami County Dental Clinic provides dental care to the uninsured and underinsured. It has been in operation since 2008. The clinic’s services include a Traveling Smiles program that provided care for more than 600 children countywide.

With soft-drink vending machines now out of schools, “we are building on the focus of prevention of dental disease rather than just treatment,” Keller said. “Our hope is that by getting the information home with the students about the negative impact that pop and sugary drinks have on our teeth and overall health, it will encourage a change of unhealthy habits at an early age and develop healthy habits for a lifetime.”

Did you Know?

• Drinking one can of pop a day equals 32 pounds of sugar in one year

• Americans consume an average of 44.7 gallons of sugar-sweetened soft drinks per person per year

• Sugars in pop increases the risk of tooth decay and erosion.

For more information, visit:

• American Dental Association website:

• Miami County Dental Clinic: phone (937) 339-8656

• Miami County Public Health: phone (937) 573-3500.

Provided photo From left, Lauren Bowman, an Ohio State University dental student, and Natalie Via, a dental assistant at the Miami County Dental Clinic, provide care to a clinic patient.