Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation's Land of Smiles Travels to Illinois Schools to Educate Children on Good Oral Health Habits
Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease,1 and more than half of Illinois third graders have had at least one cavity.2 In an effort to teach young children cavity-fighting oral health habits, the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation's “Land of Smiles” program will visit elementary schools throughout Illinois.
The highly entertaining and educational program, provided free to schools by the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, teaches pre-kindergarten through third-grade students how to properly remove plaque from teeth to fight cavities and help heroic Tooth Wizard defeat his arch-enemy PlaqueMan for the health of kids' smiles.
During the “Land of Smiles,” the costumed characters along with their student helpers demonstrate the correct way to brush and floss teeth using an oversized mouth and toothbrush and teach kids why it is important to use a fluoride rinse and visit the dentist twice a year. While PlaqueMan tries to disrupt the kids' healthy habits, Tooth Wizard will educate them about tooth-friendly foods and why it's important to have sealants applied.
In order to keep PlaqueMan, and his “icky, sticky” plaque at bay, Tooth Wizard offers parents the following tips to help children practice good oral health habits at home:
- Children's teeth should be brushed twice a day for at least two minutes each time.
- Once any two teeth are touching, children's teeth should be flossed once a day.
- Sugary and starchy foods should be limited by reserving them for mealtimes.
- Sealants should be put on six-year and 12-year molars as soon as the teeth come in.
- Children should visit the dentist regularly.
The Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation provides kids who attend the program a goody bag containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and oral health tips explaining how to take care of their teeth at home. Each participating school will receive a curriculum kit to help reinforce good oral health habits in the classroom.
This year, the “Land of Smiles” program will reach more than 31,000 pre-kindergarten through third-grade students in nearly 150 Illinois elementary schools. The program has reached nearly 240,000 students at more than 700 Illinois schools in the past eight years.
Watch a clip from our “Land of Smiles” show here.
To request an appearance at your school or to make a donation to the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, visit www.landofsmilesil.org.
1Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health in America, 2000.
2Illinois Department of Public Health, Healthy Smile Healthy Growth Assessment, 2008-2009