gifts in action:

Kids Learn Healthy Dental Hygiene Habits from a Monkey!

Every child deserves to have a healthy smile, but this lofty goal can not be reached without adequate oral health education. That’s why, in addition to working to increase access to dental care, we also focus on ensuring every child knows how to keep their smile healthy and cavity-free.

For the last 12 years, our friends at SmileMakers have partnered with us to provide resources that make dental hygiene education and good home care a possibility for kids in under resourced communities across the U.S. Since 2012, the premier provider of products used to inspire, motivate, reward, and celebrate patients has donated more than half a million dollars worth of toothbrushes, stickers, oral health kits and more so that dental professionals, oral health educators and advocates can serve more kids in need.

Left: An employee of Kids' Community Dental Clinic in Burbank, California uses Sparkles to demonstrate proper brushing technique to school students. Right: Kids thank SmileMakers for their donation of Sparkles the dental puppet after an oral health assembly held by Plan Ahead Smiles Program in Kentucky.

Most recently, SmileMakers donated 200 “Sparkles” dental puppets to our Dental Resource Program that we distributed to our program members and 112 individuals and organizations that serve thousands of kids in marginalized communities in 35 states across the country, including Dover Area School District in Dover, PA (pictured below.)

“Sparkles has already made his way into our classrooms to discuss good oral hygiene!” Stephanie Zimmerman, one of their school nurses told us. “As a new school nurse, this donation has helped me have a teaching aid to demonstrate proper brushing. The kids have loved Sparkles! Thank you for helping me have successful dental talks.”

These cute monkey puppets will be used for years to come to teach countless kids about proper brushing and flossing technique and the importance of daily dental hygiene habits!

Sparkles the dental puppet will be used for years to come in communities across the country including (L-R): Burbank, California, Morgantown, West Virginia, and Kansas City, Missouri.

America's ToothFairy executive director, Jill Malmgren delivers toothbrushes donated by SmileMakers to Butler High School in Matthews, NC.

In addition to this fun education tool, SmileMakers pledged to donate a case of toothbrushes for every case sold during National Children’s Dental Health Month and doubled the number of toothbrushes we can distribute by matching online donations made to our Smile Drive campaign during the month of February. As a result, SmileMakers is donating 50,000 toothbrushes that will be delivered to the safety-net dental clinics we support as well as school nurses, food banks, health fairs, and other opportunities to reach children who may not have a toothbrush at home.

Thank you, SmileMakers, for making a difference for kids’ oral health!

Together, we can save smiles! Discover the benefits of donating products here.

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