Collect toothbrushes for children in your community this February

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and dental hygienists are encouraged to take part in promoting the value of good oral health to underserved children. There's a contest for hygienists too!

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We all know that developing positive oral health habits at a young age is critical for maintaining a healthy smile. However, each year thousands of children go without basic oral care products, and suffer painful and embarrassing tooth decay as a result. But you can help!

Throughout February, which is National Children’s Dental Health Month, dental hygienists across the country are invited to take part in the second annual America’s ToothFairy Smile Drive – a national campaign to raise oral health awareness and collect oral care products for at-risk children.

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During last year’s Smile Drive – held in collaboration with Walmart, an America’s ToothFairy Underwriter, and the Kid’s Crest and Oral-B Stages products at Walmart ­– more than 430,000 oral care products were collected and distributed to vulnerable children, many of whom had been sharing a toothbrush with siblings, using the same toothbrush for years, or didn’t have a toothbrush at all. Six-year old Kylie was thrilled when she received her first toothbrush last year. "I always wanted to have my very own toothbrush so I could brush my teeth like the other kids every day,” she said. “Now I can!"

In 2015, the need for oral care products remains significant. A recent survey of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the major recipient of last year’s Smile Drive donations, reveals that 72% of the Clubs have members without access to their own oral care products. Also, 100% of Club leaders said that distributing oral care products would improve their members’ understanding of oral health. Recognizing the ongoing challenge, the 2015 Smile Drive ­– made possible by Align Technology and with continued support from Walmart – will expand to include dental practices, schools, and businesses, as well as pharmacies through a new partnership with the American Pharmacists Association Foundation.(1)

Participation is easy! Simply register online, download your free promotional toolkit, and select a local charity serving at-risk children to receive your donations.(2) Participating dental practices will be listed in the National Smile Drive Directory, and the dental hygienist who collects the most oral care products will receive a plaque and be recognized in a leading dental publication.

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Join the movement to save children’s smiles and build on your commitment to prevention of oral disease. Register for the Smile Drive today!(3)

Fern Ingber

Fern Ingber is the founding President and CEO of America’s ToothFairy: National Children's Oral Health Foundation.

References
1. http://www.aligntech.com/.
2. http://www.ncohf.org/get-involved/smile-drive/toolkit.
3. http://www.ncohf.org/get-involved/smile-drive/general-registration/dentistregistration.

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