Junior League and Cincinnati Museum Center team up for new childhood oral health exhibit

Inside the Grin opens in the Duke Energy Children’s Museum April 30

CINCINNATI – The Junior League of Cincinnati (JLC) and Cincinnati Museum Center are working together to help people brush up on proper oral healthcare for children. Cincinnati Museum Center will open a new interactive exhibit in partnership with the JLC to help spread awareness of children’s oral health needs and develop healthy habits. Inside the Grin will open April 30, 2016 in the Duke Energy Children’s Museum at Cincinnati Museum Center.

Inside the GrinPoor oral healthcare is a serious issue for children in the United States. Tooth decay is the leading chronic infectious disease in children with more than 40% of children nationwide experiencing dental decay by kindergarten. In Ohio, dental care remains the greatest unmet health care need for children, regardless of income. Locally, in Cincinnati Public Schools one out of every ten children has visible tooth decay.

“Tooth decay and complications from poor oral health are a serious issue in the United States, but it is also largely preventable,” says Michelle Vaeth, president of the Junior League of Cincinnati. “Through our GrinUp! Initiative , the Junior League of Cincinnati is committed to addressing the oral health problem in innovative and effective ways and, by partnering with Cincinnati Museum Center, the Inside the Grin exhibit will do just that. We’re fortunate to have so many like-minded women in the Junior League of Cincinnati committed to improving the lives of people in our region. Together we can make great strides in ensuring that our region’s children grow up with healthy habits and healthy smiles.”

The JLC, a leading non-profit incubator in the region, started GrinUp!, an area-wide initiative to improve the oral health of children in the greater Cincinnati area. GrinUp! aims to create a world of happy, healthy smiles by driving awareness, educating the community and advocating for improvements in oral health care. Ultimately, the JLC hopes to promote a lifetime of good oral health for children in the community.

“Eradicating the oral health crisis in children is a complicated issue but prevention lies at the heart of the solution,” says Laura Goodell, DMD, pediatric dentist and chair of the JLC’s GrinUp! initiative. “Education is the key to prevention. The Inside the Grin exhibit will be the cornerstone of the GrinUp! initiative, educating children and parents about how small steps and simple habits can drastically improve their children’s oral health.”

Inside the Grin prototype
Families will literally climb inside the mouth to explore and learn how to establish healthy dental habits at home. The exhibit will feature a full set of enormous, anatomically-correct teeth. Children will have the opportunity to use giant floss and a massive toothbrush to practice proper flossing and brushing techniques, learning healthy habits through play. The inside of the mouth is modeled after a dentist’s office, complete with a reclining dentist’s chair, child-safe dental instruments and interactive videos. The exhibit presents oral healthcare in a positive, non-threatening manner that will ease children’s fears and misconceptions about visiting the dentist and caring for their smiles.

“We’re thrilled to be adding a new exhibit that has the ability to communicate such an important message,” says Tony Lawson, director of the Duke Energy Children’s Museum. “Continuing our tradition of offering experiences for children to learn through play, Inside the Grin combines authentic tools and thorough research with brilliantly creative whimsy to help children and adults overcome fears and discover the importance of good oral health. Being able to collaborate with such dedicated community partners like the Junior League of Cincinnati, both on the exhibit design and with upcoming programs utilizing the exhibit, will allow us to have a positive impact on a tremendous number of families.”

The GrinUp! Initiative and Inside the Grin exhibit are supported by Crest, Oral-B, Delta Dental Foundation, Oral Health America, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Junior League of Cincinnati, Landor & Associates and the Duke Energy Children’s Museum.

Prior to the opening of Inside the Grin, the JLC will be presenting special programming in the Duke Energy Children’s Museum featuring fun, hands-on, interactive activities, dental experiments and giveaways. Join the JLC in the Duke Energy Children’s Museum on the following dates, leading up to the grand opening of Inside the Grin on April 30:

Saturday, March 19 Noon to 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 2 Noon to 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 16 Noon to 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 30 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, visit www.cincymuseum.org