DentaQuest, the nation’s leading purpose-driven oral health organization is teaming up with America’s ToothFairy to promote and expand participation in a free superhero-themed, at-home learning activity open to kids aged 6-12 across the U.S. Participants can win fun prizes, including a Nintendo® Switch gaming console, while learning how to prevent the pain and expense of tooth decay.
With more young children engaged in remote or hybrid learning models, there are fewer opportunities for nonprofit organizations and community partners to bring critical services and educational programs into traditional classrooms. The Oral Health Action Hero Challenge, which runs October 5 – November 9, 2020, will help bridge that gap by giving kids a fun way to learn about good oral health habits—and win prizes—from the convenience of their own homes.
The two organizations piloted the program this summer with about 100 participants and are using what they learned to reboot the program this fall.
During the summer campaign, kids registered as “agents” to take on five educational “missions” to defeat the villain, “The Evil DK (Decay),” and keep their smiles healthy. Participants were also asked to submit videos about what they learned. Erik Gonzales, age 8, from Beaumont, TX, took the top honor—the Champion Crystal trophy. This time, agents will learn how to triumph over a new villain BIO-FILM and his nasty gang of bacteria.
“We learned a lot from the summer campaign, and we’re excited to make it available to a larger group of students in October,” said Jill Malmgren, executive director at America’s ToothFairy. “The timing makes sense for a number of reasons. First, many students are settling into new remote learning routines and teachers and parents are looking for engaging educational activities that kids can complete independently. Second, October is National Dental Hygiene Month. And third, Halloween is a time when many kids overindulge in sweet treats, so now is a great time to be getting ahead of that and keeping them focused on good oral health.”
“This campaign comes at a time that is critically important, and we want to help maximize participation,” said Steve Pollock, president and CEO for DentaQuest. “We know that many school districts across the country have had to postpone school-based oral health programs due to COVID-19. For some students, these programs are their only source of dental care and only access point for health care in general. If we can get more kids interested in learning about the importance of oral health, we’ll be making a big difference, and we applaud America’s ToothFairy for their leadership in preventing tooth decay through education.”
DentaQuest and the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement are working with communities across the country to find alternatives for critical oral health care amid the pandemic. The partnership with America’s ToothFairy is one good example of an alternative approach. Other solutions include the increased use of teledentistry for children in need; setting up alternate access locations for children; and ensuring that proper infection control measures are incorporated in school settings where children can attend in person.
Children who participate in the fall Oral Health Action Hero Challenge will receive all materials electronically. Ideally suited for kids aged 6 to 12, or in grades 1 through 7, the program is open to all who want to enter. Participants will complete three “missions”. The first is to survey 10 people to see what they know about basic oral health. The second is to track their own dental hygiene routine for two weeks. And the third is to record a short video sharing one thing they learned from the experience.
Participants will submit a short online report about their missions to be entered into a random drawing for prizes. Three finalists will be selected from all entrants to win the Grand Prize, a Nintendo Switch gaming console or a $300 Nintendo, Xbox®, or Playstation® gift card from America’s ToothFairy. The Grand Prize winner will be determined through online voting. Official rules, prize list and registration can be found at AmericasToothFairyKIDS.org.