Chicago Kids Get a Visit from Delta Dental's Tooth Wizard and PlaqueMan
Students at seven Chicago schools are receiving a visit this week from Tooth Wizard and PlaqueMan as part of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation's Land of Smiles program.
Chicago schools receiving visits this week include: Galileo Academy of Math & Science, Jesse Sherwood Elementary, William Brown Elementary, Marcus Garvey Elementary, Bond Elementary, Columbus Elementary and Alexander Graham Elementary.
Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation works to improve oral health and reduce tooth decay (or cavities) among Illinois children through its Land of Smiles program. With the help of Tooth Wizard and PlaqueMan, this fun educational program shows kids the correct way to brush, floss and use fluoride rinse. The program also teaches the importance of choosing healthy foods and drinks, visiting the dentist regularly and having sealants applied.
"Over the past 13 years, Land of Smiles has visited 878 elementary schools in Illinois, helping students have better oral health," said Lora Vitek, executive director for Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. "Learning about the basics of brushing, flossing and using a fluoride rinse at an early age can help prevent cavities and establish the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles."
Nearly 40% of Illinois elementary school children miss school because of cavities or other oral health problems. Tooth decay can get in the way of students' attendance, concentration and performance.
Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation brings the free Land of Smiles program to Illinois elementary schools each spring and fall. The program has had a measurable impact on Illinois children. For example, surveys given to children before and after the performance showed that only 56% of second- and third-grade students knew that plaque is bad for teeth before the show, compared to 97% after the show.
"Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation works to support and improve the oral health of people in Illinois, with a specific focus on children," Vitek said. "We're seeing such positive results among students who participate in the Land of Smiles program. Working together with local schools, we are making a difference in preventing tooth decay, one of the most common chronic diseases affecting children."
Children who participate in Land of Smiles receive a kit with a free toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and a booklet packed with oral health tips. For those interested in requesting a Land of Smiles appearance at their school, visit landofsmilesil.org.
This year, the Land of Smiles program will reach more than 39,000 pre-kindergarten through third-grade students at almost 200 Illinois elementary schools. In the past 13 years, the program has reached about 416,000 students at 878 Illinois schools.
About the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation
The Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation was formed in March 2008 by Delta Dental of Illinois, a not-for-profit dental service corporation with a mission to improve overall health and well-being. Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation is the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Delta Dental of Illinois. In the past decade, combined efforts of Delta Dental of Illinois and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation have provided more than $8 million to programs and organizations in Illinois that improve the oral health of the state's residents. For additional information about Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, please see www.deltadentalil.com.