Tooth decay is the leading chronic infectious disease among children in our nation. 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. To help combat this issue, Delta Dental of Missouri is educating and inspiring children to adopt healthy life habits through its upbeat and interactive, touring Land of Smiles® program. Thanks to the collaboration with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ (DHSS) Preventive Services Program, the show now also underscores the importance of fluoride varnishes. The 2015 tour made its most recent stop last week at St. Joseph School in Martinsburg, Mo. The performance features Tooth Wizard and his sister Tooth Fairy, in their ongoing crusade to help kids have healthy teeth. Tooth Fairy explains to the students that night after night, she collects all of the baby teeth left under pillows and places them high into the night sky over the mythical Land of Smiles to make “beautiful twinkling stars.” But, unhealthy teeth just drop back down to the ground. To prevent this from happening, the characters get the children excited about brushing and flossing properly and visiting Tooth Wizard’s “best friend,” the dentist. Some lucky volunteers even get to dress up as teeth and help Tooth Wizard demonstrate the art of cleaning between teeth with floss and rinsing with mouthwash, as they swish under a bucket full of streamers. The characters also discuss what foods are good and bad for teeth and overall health, as well as the importance of having fluoride varnishes applied to teeth and making healthy lifestyle choices.
Tooth Wizard and Tooth Fairy come bearing gifts for the students at the elementary schools they visit. Each child is sent home with a “smile bag” from Delta Dental, packed with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, an educational coloring sheet and a mirror decal reminding them to brush twice daily.
After the show, the school receives a Healthy Smiles Toolkit that provides a curriculum guide with six lessons and activities teachers can use in the classroom to reinforce the oral health messages of the Land of Smiles show. The toolkit also includes a large mouth model and toothbrush, children’s books, a sing-a-long CD and a Land of Smiles DVD.
“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.”
Throughout the school year, two separate Land of Smiles’ casts will collectively reach more than 65,000 students at over 320 schools across the state of Missouri.
Those interested in having the award-winning Land of Smiles program visit their child’s school can have their child’s teacher, principal or school nurse go to www.LandofSmilesProgram.org or call 888-383-0008.