This year, the AAO is taking a new direction in observing National Orthodontic Health Month in October, which is also National Bullying Prevention Month. As we team up with an anti-bullying organization, Stand for the Silent, we invite members worldwide to join us in helping to raise awareness of the effects of bullying.
“Uniting to spread the word about such an important cause is something we’re proud to do,” said Dr. Gary O. Inman, AAO president. “The AAO has members all over the country, Canada and abroad, who work with children every single day. This is a powerful way to make a difference in patients’ lives. Shifting October’s focus from National Orthodontic Health Month to National Bullying Prevention Month allows both causes to broaden their reach, and, in turn, make a larger impact.”
Over the years, issues with teeth have often been targeted by bullies as highlighted by this study that appeared in the AJO-DO, noting the significant relationship between bullying targeting dentofacial features and a negative impact on oral health–related quality of life. A OnePoll survey found seven in 10 Americans admit to feeling self-conscious about their teeth and revealed that 57 percent of Americans cover their mouths when they laugh due to insecurity about their teeth.
Bring the Anti-Bullying Message to Your Practice and Community
The AAO has prepared materials that members are encouraged to use to
raise awareness of the impact of bullying. Members are invited to use these written and visual elements to reach patients and other residents of your local community:
● A template press release on the anti-bullying initiative that can be customized with your practice information and sent to local media to share that your practice is joining in the fight against bullying;
● An infographic flier that can be distributed in your office: “4 Ways You Can Stop Bullying”;
● Downloadable graphics formatted for sharing on Facebook and Instagram, which can be used for posts supporting the anti-bullying effort;
● A pledge form that students can be asked to sign, saying, “I pledge to take a stand against bullying. I will be the change, because I am somebody!”
Access the above materials by clicking here and logging in. Then, scroll down the page to National Bullying Prevention Month + NOHM.
In addition, during October AAO member practices are invited to:
● Follow the AAO on social media and share AAO posts with anti-bullying messages.
● Share the consumer blog post posted on the AAO consumer website: “You Are Somebody – 4 Steps for Students to Stand for the Silent.” The URL to copy and paste to share the post is:
● Participate in Unity Day on Wednesday, October 23, by wearing orange and posting a picture of your orthodontic team on social media. Unity Day represents a united front in kindness, acceptance and inclusion.
● Send your Unity Day team photo to Carlos Otero at email@example.com to be included in a fun AAO video.
Anti-bullying Support is Needed Year-Round
While the AAO is launching the anti-bullying initiative in October, the pledge form and other content may be used throughout the school year to support patients and other residents of the community who are targets of bullying.
AAO members seeking greater involvement in the issue may also wish to consider financially supporting Stand for the Silent, which is a nonprofit organization. Another great opportunity is to sponsor a Stand for the Silent presentation at a school in your community.
About Stand for the Silent
Founded in 2010, Stand for the Silent is a nonprofit that has fast become one of the leading and most effective anti-bullying organizations. They have reached more than 1,505,000 kids in nearly 1,500 schools. The mission is simple: Bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes.
Traditional National Orthodontic Health Month Materials are Also Available
In addition to the anti-bullying campaign, the AAO has updated its traditional National Orthodontic Health Month materials, including fliers, posters, social media posts and more.
Access National Orthodontic Health Month Materials
(To access materials, log in and scroll down the linked page to National Orthodontic Health Month.)