gifts in action:

Storytime Smiles Brings Oral Health Education Resources to Public Libraries

Although it is largely preventable, tooth decay remains the number one chronic childhood disease in the United States. In an effort to educate families about the importance of brushing and flossing daily, America’s ToothFairy has partnered with Delta Dental to host Storytime Smiles events at public libraries around the country.

Left and Middle: Kids in Indianapolis received Oral Health Action Hero masks and capes in addition to free dental kits that included fun learning materials and a toothbrush at the Storytime Smiles kick-off event at the Indianapolis Public Library. Right: Dr. Nathan Martzke reads a dental-themed book as part of Storytime Smiles at the Royal Oak Public Library in Royal Oak, Michigan.

After a small-scale pilot of Storytime Smiles, an initiative sponsored by Delta Dental of North Carolina that was overwhelmingly well-received by libraries in our home state of North Carolina, we are excited to expand to libraries in the other parts of the country to help families in communities with restricted access to dental care learn how to keep their smiles healthy.

Selected libraries receive education resource kits that include oral health materials for young children and their caregivers, three oral health related storybooks, a lesson plan, and in some cases superhero masks and capes, and resources to help families find a dental home. 

The first wave of events in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana reached 30,000 kids thanks to support from the Dental Dental Foundation.

The Kick-off event was held on February 18, 2023 at the Indianapolis Public Library during a community oral health event co-hosted by the Indiana Department of Health that also included free dental screenings for children.

Each child received a superhero-themed education kit containing:
• an activity booklet with fun, age-appropriate oral health activities including a coloring contest
• a brochure for caregivers with oral health tips for the whole family
• a bookmark with oral health tips in English and Spanish
• a magnetic, dry erase brushing chart
• a toothbrush

The Delta Dental Foundation’s executive director, Holli Seabury, EdD, was very pleased with the initiative and said, “Libraries are one of our most underrated public health resources. Storytime Smiles is a fun and unique opportunity to offer critical health education and help more people find a dental home.” (Watch news coverage of the event here.)

Left: A young girl receives a toothbrush from the Tooth Fairy at the Storytime Smiles kick-off event at the Indianapolis Public Library. Right: Preschoolers pose with their Oral Health Action Hero costumes after a Storytime Smiles event at the Goshen Public Library in Goshen, Indiana.

Additional Storytime Smiles events are being held this spring with variations of the kit items listed above in these states:

For more information about sponsoring education kits for children in your community, contact Jill at

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