Land of Smiles brightens student smiles at 63 Chicago-area schools

Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation's Land of Smiles program has wrapped up its fall tour in the Chicago area, reaching 12,834 students at 63 elementary schools in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties.

Land of Smiles is a free, educational initiative that aims to empower children with essential oral health habits. The program has been designed to educate and entertain. Characters like Captain Super Grin, Terri Tooth Fairy, Toothpick, and their playful nemesis, Caz Cavity, captivate young audiences while delivering crucial messages about oral hygiene, nutrition, and regular dental checkups.

Tooth decay remains the leading chronic disease affecting children. Research shows 22% of Illinois third-graders have untreated tooth decay.

This fall, the Land of Smiles program has reached 24,674 prekindergarten through third-graders in 119 schools throughout Illinois. Every student at a Land of Smiles performance receives a kit with a free toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss, along with bilingual oral health tips outlining how students should care for their teeth.

The program reaches more than 30,000 children annually.

Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation partners with school administrators and nurses to bring the program to Illinois elementary schools each spring and fall. It has reached 524,078 students at 983 Illinois elementary schools over the past 13 years.

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