Charlotte, NC, August 15, 2023 — More than 69 million people live in dental care health professional shortage areas, where on average only 31.75% of the population have their dental needs met. America’s ToothFairy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to oral health care for children in underserved populations, is working to provide effective oral health education and prevention programs for communities that simply don’t have enough dental care providers.
“Dental disease is preventable, yet most oral health efforts focus on restorative care, rather than prevention,” said Jill Malmgren, executive director of America’s ToothFairy. “This creates a revolving door of drill, fill, and pull where children access services only when in severe pain or in need of invasive and expensive treatments.”
Through their Health Education Resources and Outreach (HERO) Program, America’s ToothFairy provides oral health educational materials and outreach kits that equip community volunteers, oral health advocates, and dental health professionals to teach children and their caregivers about the importance of a healthy smile and how to prevent dental diseases.
“Over the last three years we have developed new ways to empower oral health educators to share the information families need to practice healthy dental hygiene habits at home and reinforce the importance of routine dental exams,” Malmgren added.
During America’s ToothFairy’s 2023 fiscal year, which ended June 30th, the HERO Program provided:
• guides for volunteers to address oral health inequity in their own communities,
• downloadable educational materials that were used to reach nearly 600,000 children and caregivers,
• 142 ToothFairy 101® Community Education Kits for educators, public health workers, and other oral health advocates that can reach at least 250 children each year, and
• two sponsored awareness campaigns including educational materials that reached 190,000 people and social media kits that reached thousands more online.
“A healthy smile can have a tremendous impact throughout a child’s lifetime,” said Julie Paulsen, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility at Align Technology and America’s ToothFairy Board Secretary. “Align Technology is proud of what we have accomplished together with America’s ToothFairy to help families in underserved communities learn how to prevent dental disease and break the cycle of poor oral health.”
An additional 75,500 kids received sponsored Smile Guardian education kits that included everything from printed activity booklets for kids and guides for parents to toothbrushes and toothpaste. The kits were distributed regionally to organizations that serve at-risk populations including food banks, afterschool programs, public libraries, school nurses, preschools, and daycares thanks to contributions from Delta Dental, MGE: Management Experts, Patterson Dental, Cranberry, and private dental offices.
“Education materials from America’s ToothFairy are amazing tools that make learning about oral health fun for the children and accessible for the caregivers,” said Tracey Carrillo Fecher, Chief Executive Officer at Sonrisas Dental Health, a nonprofit, safety net dental clinic located in San Mateo, California. “We distribute these education materials at community events, oral health presentations and in the oral health toolkits we give to every child who has contact with Sonrisas programming or clinical services.” Sonrisas is one the 57 clinics nationwide that received resources from America’s ToothFairy to expand the number of children who can receive dental services in the last year.
About Align Technology, Inc.
Align Technology designs and manufactures the Invisalign® System, the most advanced clear aligner system in the world, iTero™ intraoral scanners and services, and exocad™ CAD/CAM software. These technology building blocks enable enhanced digital orthodontic and restorative workflows to improve patient outcomes and practice efficiencies for approximately 247 thousand doctor customers and are key to accessing Align’s 500 million consumer market opportunity worldwide. Over the past 26 years, Align has helped doctors treat over 15.7 million patients with the Invisalign System and is driving the evolution in digital dentistry through the Align Digital Platform™, our integrated suite of unique, proprietary technologies and services delivered as a seamless, end-to-end solution for patients and consumers, orthodontists and GP dentists, and lab/partners. Visit www.aligntech.com for more information.
For additional information about the Invisalign System or to find an Invisalign doctor in your area, please visit www.invisalign.com. For additional information about the iTero digital scanning system, please visit www.itero.com. For additional information about exocad dental CAD/CAM offerings and a list of exocad reseller partners, please visit www.exocad.com.