The Healthy Start System Begins with Educating Your Community Behind every yawn is a child who deserves a Healthy Start!
dult dental sleep medicine has become a key component for many dental practices, focusing on the use of oral appliance or PAP therapy to address snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. While evaluating adults for sleep issues, it becomes apparent that many of their symptoms have been present since childhood, revealing a critical need to begin evaluations for sleep issues at a much younger age. Research shows that nine out of ten children suffer from at least one symptom of Sleep Disordered Breathing (Stevens et al, 2016). These outward symptoms include snoring, mouth breathing, allergies, bedwetting, and many more. The Healthy Start system addresses the underlying root cause of Sleep Disordered Breathing in children by combining comprehensive dental and health issues into one system, expanding the realm of dental sleep medicine to children. Between 4 and 12 years of age, 92.6% of SDB symptoms do not self-correct, while 30% actually worsen with age (Stevens et al. 2016). Healthy Start promotes proper oral habits, develops the airway, and creates proper jaw development, often resulting in straight teeth without braces. As dental professionals, we understand the urgency for treatment and the widespread impact that SDB has on children. The current condition, sometimes referred to as a “silent epidemic”, manifests itself in a variety of symptoms that can be easily overlooked, misdiagnosed, and, most unfortunately, left untreated. It is extremely important to reach these children before it is too late. Healthy Start provides more than a Band-Aid – it is a permanent solution if started early enough in a child’s growth and development. Four out of ten of the most common outward symptoms of SDB are directly related to dentistry. These symptoms include mouth breathing at night, snoring, tooth grinding, and mouth breathing during the day (Stevens et al, 2016). Our healthcare system simply does not have a comprehensive and permanent solution to this crisis. Dental professionals have the knowledge
Figure 1: Stations Telerama and Uno, Ecuador Healthy Start Editorial reaching parents in communities and available at Pediatricians’ offices.
28 DSP | Spring 2017
and tools needed to impact the development of a child’s airway, and Healthy Start has the solution to ensure permanent changes in a growing child to help unlock their potential and provide a more healthy life.
How do we educate the public?
Healthy Start has begun a media push to educate parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, and other professionals whose work brings them into contact with children. The message is simple – first arm the public with the knowledge of the outward symptoms and the need for a dental professional to evaluate the child for the responsible underlying conditions. Then, explain that treatment for these root causes can be addressed with a non-pharmaceutical, non-invasive, conservative method. Healthy Start has used TV, radio, newspaper, podcasts, and social media to educate the public. These media outlets have reached our providers across the country and allowed them to reach out to their communities, educating and stressing upon them the necessity of treating at an early age for a more permanent change. Social media venues are also being used to capture the public’s attention, specifically the Healthy Start Facebook Live presentations available to the general public. These virtual meetings are conducted by the Healthy Start team and their providers, showcasing an exciting and informative presentation. Invitations are distibuted to families, ADD/ ADHA awareness groups, teaching organizations, mommy bloggers, etc. RSVP’s to these live presentations are a launching pad to begin the conversation between dental professionals and parents. Healthy Start will provide surveys to participants prior to the live presentation. These Healthy Start Sleep Questionnaires inform parents of the 27 most prevalent outward symptoms of SDB, and ask them to observe and evaluate their child