gifts in action:

Kids Defeat Oral Health Villains!

So far thousands of kids have participated in our HERO Challenges to learn about the importance of healthy dental hygiene habits and defeat the villains, The Evil DK, Bio-Film and his nasty gang of bacteria, and--most recently--Ginger Vitis! During the challenges kids completed three oral health missions that included tracking their own dental hygiene habits, quizzing their family and friends about oral health facts, and submitting a video telling us what they learned.

The most recent grand prize winner, 7-year old Ellie Alderman (right) from Lewisburg, WV, was excited to receive her new Nintendo Switch gaming console. Other participants won fun prizes by random drawing including a Smart Watch, LEGO kits, and a SpyX Voice Disguiser!

During the quest to defeat Ginger Vitis, participants quizzed their family and friends to find out what they know about flossing. Many were surprised to discover that only about 54% knew that kids should start flossing daily when their teeth touch each other. Others found that only 58% of respondents knew that people with gum disease are more likely to develop pneumonia when they are sick or fall ill with kidney, pancreatic, or blood cancers. 

They were also surprised to learn how many people they know who don’t floss.

“Almost everyone knew that they should floss every day but they said they don’t,” 11-year old Isabella from Anthem, AZ reported. Erik, a 9-year old participant from Beaumont, TX told us “My family does not floss. I floss more when I keep track of flossing.”

Many of the kids noted that following all of the daily dental hygiene guidelines from the American Dental Association was a challenge but that tracking their brushing and flossing with the chart helped them remember. A Scout troop leader from Hamilton, OH shared that, “Doing the tracking chart encouraged the girls to floss more often as well as brushing their teeth and tongue. Just doing the activity made the girls take better care of their dental health!”

The HERO Challenge initiative is made possible with support from DentaQuest, a dental and vision benefits provider based in Boston, MA.

“Participation in last year’s challenge was such a success that we knew we wanted to do this again and reach even more children,” said Steve Pollock, chief executive officer of DentaQuest. “Throughout the pandemic, DentaQuest has been committed to our mission of meeting oral health needs across the country. This campaign provides a kid-specific opportunity to learn lessons they can carry with them and live a healthy lifestyle well into adulthood.”

To download the three lessons kids used to learn how to prevent gum disease during the HERO Challenge, visit our Resources page. There you'll find other education handouts and activity sheets including charts to track brushing and flossing habits.

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