A total 10,000 children living in communities with restricted access to dental care learned how to keep their smiles healthy this fall thanks to “10,000 Smiles Ready to Learn.”
Through this education initiative, America’s ToothFairy distributed educational resource kits to 10 non-profit dental service providers and educators for use during their back-to-school oral health outreach events. The initiative was made possible with financial support from MGE: Management Experts (MGE), and MGE’s dentists’ clients and their teams.
As members of the Dental Resource Programme of America’s ToothFairy, these dental clinics receive donated dental supplies and equipment in an effort to increase access to dental care for kids in underserved communities, however printed oral health materials are a luxury that are often out of reach due to limited budgets.
“As a resource provider for safety-net dental clinics, we work to ensure our programme members can provide access to care for every child who needs dental services,” said Jill Malmgren, executive director of America’s ToothFairy. “However, in order to see a decline in the number of kids with untreated tooth decay, which is much higher in underprivileged communities, our partners also need educational materials to help kids learn how to prevent decay in the first place.”
The education resource kits included crayons and colouring books that promote the daily habits needed to prevent tooth decay, bookmarks with oral health tips in English and Spanish, informational brochures for caregivers, and a basic dental hygiene tool that many children in low-income homes lack – a toothbrush.
One recipient, Sonrisas Dental Health in San Mateo, California, was grateful to receive the kits to use during outreach events including their Back-to-School Drive-Up Screenings, which provided free dental screenings for kids and focused on preventive care for children.
“We offer a back-to-school oral health kit to each participant, so they can start off the year with positive oral health habits,” said Sonrisas’ Maura LeBaron-Hsieh. “From the feedback we received from participating parents and guardians, many family members share toothbrushes. We want to promote the importance of each family member, especially children, using their own toothbrush.”
The “10,000 Smiles Ready to Learn” is an expanded version of America’s ToothFairy’s Smile Guardian education initiative, which offers dental professionals the opportunity to sponsor oral health education kits for their local communities.
“Thanks to MGE, their dentists’ clients and their teams, we were able to provide resources for 10 times the number of children than we can with a typical Smile Guardian sponsorship,” added Malmgren. “We are exceedingly grateful for their support, which has helped our organisation, our partners, and the families they serve through a difficult time.”
“We are delighted to team up with America’s ToothFairy to help so many children learn about the importance of healthy dental hygiene habits,” said Jeffrey Blumberg, chief operating officer of MGE. “The initiative was made possible with financial support from MGE: Management Experts and the generosity of MGE’s dentists’ clients and teams who generously contributed to support this important initiative. It is something we are immensely proud of.”