Nearly every parent of young children struggles to persuade them to share. But there’s one thing thousands of children across the US share every day with their siblings and even their parents but shouldn’t – their toothbrush.
Across the US, more than 25 million children are affected by paediatric dental disease – also known as severe tooth decay – which is the most prevalent chronic childhood illness affecting children in the US. Left untreated, it can lead to malnourishment, anaemia, emergency surgery, life-threatening secondary infections and even death.
For thousands of children, a significant contributor to tooth decay is lack of access to basic oral care products such as a toothbrush and toothpaste.
To address this critical issue, volunteers across the country will participate in America’s ToothFairy Smile Drive – a national campaign to collect toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and rinse for at-risk children. The campaign, taking place throughout the month of February (National Children’s Dental Health Month), seeks to bring national attention to the children’s oral health crisis. Last year, students, volunteers, dental professionals, businesses and many other community groups participated – with some groups collecting more than 10,000 oral care products for children in their community. The general public is invited to participate and can learn more here.
According to Stacey Anderson, Executive Director of Just Kids Dental, an America’s ToothFairy Affiliate in Two Harbours, Minn., “On a weekly (often daily) basis, our staff hear children openly and honestly communicate how they and their siblings do not own a toothbrush, which is a basic necessity.”
“It was absolutely amazing to see the number of products we collected. It was really rewarding to imagine how many families they would help,” said Katie Kim, 2015 Smile Drive Participant, San Francisco.
America’s ToothFairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation was formed in 2006 to provide an aggressive, collaborative response to eliminate children’s preventable suffering from paediatric dental disease. There are America’s ToothFairy programmes and supported services for children and caregivers in every state. This past fiscal year, more than 2.2 million children and caregivers were reached. – Doug Carey
<Photo caption: Severe tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic childhood illness affecting children in the US. (Photo used by permission from America’s ToothFairy)>