Children digest dental hygiene tips at Malta Bend school program

Thursday, March 12, 2015
Students volunteer to brush "plaque" off the teeth of a mouth form at Delta Dental's "Land of Smiles" program, held at Malta Bend Schools on Thursday. (Sarah Reed/Democrat-News)

Among a lot of giggling, children at Malta Bend Public Schools sat on the gymnasium floor and leaned in as the Tooth Wizard and his sister, the Tooth Fairy, talked about dental hygiene.

Using energetic gestures the characters created an interactive show in "The Land of Smiles," where students volunteered to brush a gigantic form of teeth and play games in an effort to learn about healthy smiles.

According to a press release from Delta Dental of Missouri -- the company that established the theatrical program -- tooth decay is the leading chronic infectious disease among children in the United States.

"It causes pain and can interfere with a child's ability to eat, speak, smile and concentrate, and has the potential to affect one's systemic health," the release stated.

Delta Dental has a goal of reaching more than 65,000 students at more than 320 Missouri schools this year.

Pointing to the mouth form used in the program, Tooth Wizard and Tooth Fairy explained how plaque forms on teeth.

"Everybody say, 'Eeeww. Plaque,'" the wizard said, with students mimicking him.

"Eeeeewww, plaque!" they shouted.

Each student in the audience receives a "smile bag" from Delta Dental to promote the importance of properly brushing and flossing. The bags include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, a coloring sheet and a mirror decal to remind them how often to brush.

"Our Land of Smiles characters really resonate with the kids, inspiring action and motivating change," commented Monica Green, manager of marketing and communications for Delta Dental of Missouri. "We added Tooth Fairy to our cast of characters last year and she was a big hit. Everyone knows her, but no one ever gets to spend time with her. The kids are always tickled to hear her story of why she collects teeth and how she uses the healthy ones."

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