As a resource provider for safety-net dental clinics, we work to ensure our program members can provide access to care for every child who needs dental services, however printed oral health materials are a luxury that are often out of reach due to limited budgets. In order to see a decline in the number of kids with untreated tooth decay, which is much higher in underprivileged communities, our partners also need educational materials to help kids learn how to prevent decay in the first place.
This fall 10,000 children living in communities with restricted access to dental care learned how to keep their smiles healthy thanks to “10,000 Smiles Ready to Learn,” an education initiative made possible by the members of MGE: Management Experts. Educational resource kits were distributed to 10 nonprofit dental service providers for use during their back-to-school oral health outreach events.
The education resource kits included crayons and coloring books that promote the daily habits needed to prevent tooth decay, bookmarks with oral health tips in English and Spanish, informational brochures for caregivers, and a basic dental hygiene tool that many children in low-income homes lack–a toothbrush.
One recipient, Sonrisas Dental Health in San Mateo, California, was grateful to receive the kits to use during outreach events including their Back-to-School Drive-Up Screenings, which provided free dental screenings for kids and focused on preventive care for children.
“We offer a back-to-school oral health kit to each participant, so they can start off the year with positive oral health habits,” said Sonrisas’ Maura LeBaron-Hsieh. “From the feedback we received from participating parents and guardians, many family members share toothbrushes. We want to promote the importance of each family member, especially children, using their own toothbrush.”
“10,000 Smiles Ready to Learn” is an expanded version of our Smile Guardian education initiative, which offers dental professionals the opportunity to sponsor oral health education kits for their local communities. Because of support from MGE and their members, we were able to provide resources for ten times the number of children than we can with a typical Smile Guardian sponsorship.
MGE raised the funds to support the initiative by holding a lively auction during their annual membership meeting last spring. Their members had a fantastic time winning auction items while supporting oral health education and preventive care for children living in underserved communities.
For more information about education resource sponsorship, contact Jill Malmgren at email@example.com.