On November 1, 2018 Scout troops across the country flocked to register as participants in our HERO Program (Health Education Resources + Outreach) to earn their Oral Health Action HERO patches. All 2,000 available patches were reserved in a matter of days. Since then, 36 troops have completed projects to increase awareness about the importance of oral health, and collected more than 4,500 oral care products for children in their communities! The remaining registered troops have until June 30, 2019 to complete their projects and claim their patches. Any patches left unclaimed will be available at that time for troops that were unable to register in November. Learn more about the HERO Program here.
(Registered troops that have completed a HERO project can collect their patches by submitting project summaries and photos here.)
In addition, thanks to a generous donation from DentaQuest, another set of 2,000 patches are available exclusively to Scouts in New York, Florida, Texas and Michigan! To earn a patch, Scouts must lead three oral health projects that change the way members of their communities think about taking care of their mouths, empower children to change negative oral health behaviors, and remove barriers that challenge positive oral health habits. Projects must include a visit to a dental office and participation in a Smile Drive. For more details, download our informational brochure. Or to register, click here.
Need some ideas for your HERO projects? Take a look at the projects Scouts have completed to earn their patches:
"We conducted an egg experiment to demonstrate how the hard shell of an egg protects the soft inside, just like the hard enamel of your teeth protects the soft and tender pulp on the inside. We soaked eggs in different sugary drinks for 24 hours. These drinks included: juices, teas, sodas, vitamin water, Powerade, etc. After 24 hours, we examined the eggs and found that the sugar and acids were harmful to the eggs, just like they are to our teeth. The acids actually dissolve the enamel, giving bacteria an inroad to begin decaying it, and sugar promotes decay and cavities." -Trista, Scout Troop 1029 (pictured, left)
"The girls did a pop can drive and handed out cards to tell facts about what they had learned to all who gave pop cans. We used the money from the drive to buy toothbrushes, paste and floss. Then we donated to a Christmas program in our area so that every kid could get a toothbrush, paste and floss in their stockings along with an info card with facts on why brushing is important. We also made tooth fairy jars for kids to put the tooth they lose in. The tooth fairy opens it, takes the tooth and leaves the money in the jar." -Beckie, Scout Troop 4268, Rodney, MI
"We had a pediatric dental hygienist attend our meeting to discuss oral health and to talk to the girls about brushing, flossing, and the effects of long-term pop and sugar left on teeth." -Jennifer, Scout Troop 91105, Kent, OH
"We had a hygienist teach the girls about dental health. Her presentation included healthy food and drink choices, discussing the acidity of drinks, and proper brushing and flossing. ...[The girls] also taught the public at a local community event about making healthy food choices and how to prevent cavities by drinking water and brushing and flossing regularly." -Jennifer, Troop 1441, Yorkville, IL
"We spoke to the water district about fluoride in our water and about healthy water in our city in general." -Trisha, Troop 2577, Irvine, CA
"We talked about different types of fluoride and how beneficial it can be. Then we specifically talked about different fluoride levels in water and looked up our local water fluoride ppm. Then we learned about oral hygiene and diet, and did some hands on demonstrations." -Shannon, Troop 2149, Mansfield, TX (photo, left)
"The girls experimented with different foods and drinks that had varying levels of sugar to find out which ones had the most sugar. We looked at different fruits versus candy and sweet treats like popsicles. We then looked at the sugar content in drinks like sodas, fruit juices, milk and sports drinks. We even put the amount of sugar in baggies to visually show how much sugar was in each. This portion was all about learning how much sugar can be hidden in foods or drinks so that we can make better choices for our health and teeth!" -Jamor, Troops 4042 & 4037, Southlake, TX
"The troop had a discussion of oral hygiene practices. We identified how often we needed to brush and floss. The girls designed a trifold board display called 'Dive Into Oral Hygiene' to show what they learned and used it to educate the youth staying with our church as a part of the church CARITAS project. There were 14 children and 26 homeless adults attending the program." -Bonita, Troop 3824, Henrico. VA
In addition to projects, troops are required to hold a Smile Drive to earn their patches. Here are the top three Scout Smile Drives so far:
Troop 40504, Chattanooga, TN collected 194 toothbrushes, 67 toothpastes, 7 mouthwashes and 32 floss for a total of 300 oral care items.
Troop 2072, San Diego, CA collected 400 dental care products that they donated to A.B. and Jessie Polinsky Children's Center.
"Our scouts visited Giggles & Grins pediatric dental office to learn about oral hygiene. They learned all about baby and adult teeth, how to properly brush their teeth and floss, as well as how important it is to visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and check up. We also collected 522 items during our Smile Drive and donated our oral hygiene products to a lower income, Title 1 elementary school in our area." - Jamor, Troops 4042 & 4037, Southlake, TX (photo, below)