• October 23, 2018
UIC College of Dentistry Dr. Jaha Howard

CNN on April 13 reported findings of a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that the percentage of young people with dental cavities in the United States has dropped from 50% in 2012 to just over 43% in 2016, but that young members of minority communities continue to have the highest number of cavities, as well has the highest number of untreated cavities.

The related video, more than three minutes in length, features a College of Dentistry alumnus, Dr. Jaha V. Howard, who earned his certificate in Pediatric Dentistry in 2009, and his MS in Oral Sciences in 2010, both from the College. Dr. Howard practices in Atlanta, GA.

In the video, CNN Accent Health reporter Tomeka Jones noted that Dr. Howard “brings something extra to a dental exam. He likes to sing and rap about kids’ dental care.”

The feature then shows Dr. Howard singing, using an oversized toothbrush as if it were a microphone, with lyrics including the phrase, “Brush ‘em again”

Jones said that Dr. Howard’s “unique style of dentistry helps him connect with young patients and makes their dental experience enjoyable.”

“Oftentimes they work well with other kids but with grownups, if it’s not their teacher who they see in school, they can feel a little bit of ‘stranger danger’ or anxiety,” Dr. Howard said. “So we want to make sure that we connect with them, have some fun.”

The video then went on to show Dr. Howard putting at ease a three-year-old boy having his first visit to a dentist by singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

Jones then quoted statistics about cavities, and Dr. Howard gave advice on maintaining healthy teeth, such as reducing sugary drink consumption, eliminating sticky sugary foods, and “teamwork brushing,” in which he recommends that grownups help kids brush together as a team.

The video later had Dr. Howard singing another song, “This Is How We Brush,” and ends with him high-fiving the three-year-old after a successful visit.

For the video and related story, see https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/13/health/prevalence-of-cavities-study/index.html.

Reflecting his interest in bettering conditions for children, Dr. Howard on May 22 won the Democratic primary for the Cobb County School District school board. He was unopposed in the general election Nov. 6. and will join the board shortly thereafter. “It’s Georgia’s second largest school district,” Dr. Howard said.

Dr. Howard’s website, which features interactive games, quizzes, and jokes for children, is https://www.atlantakidsmiles.com/.

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