Educational program teaching kids about oral health goes virtual
Illinois schools can now participate in a new virtual version of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation's Land of Smiles -- the fun, educational program that teaches children in preschool through third grade about oral health care.
"We've temporarily shifted the Land of Smiles program from a live show to a virtual experience for students due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," said Lora Vitek, executive director for Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. "We also refreshed the program with new characters who continue to teach young students about the importance of oral health in an engaging, fun way that makes learning more impactful."
Land of Smiles' new virtual experience features an interactive 30-minute video that can be used in the classroom or shared with students who are learning virtually. The program's brand new superhero characters include Captain Super Grin, Caz Cavity, Terri Tooth Fairy and Toothpick.
"Land of Smiles teaches kids about the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day, flossing daily, using fluoride rinse, eating healthy foods and visiting the dentist regularly," Vitek said. "The program has had a measurable impact on Illinois children. Tests given to students after the show reveal a marked improvement in their knowledge about oral health."
Students who participate in the virtual Land of Smiles program will receive a "smile bag" that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss to practice the good oral health habits they learned in the virtual program.
Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation's signature oral health educational program has been offered free of charge to Illinois schools since 2007. The program has reached more than 426,000 students in about 900 schools.
Tooth decay is a significant public health problem and the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting more than 2 in 5 Illinois children. Poor oral health can hurt a child's ability to concentrate and learn, and cause them to miss school. Education is key to teaching good oral health habits and establishing a lifetime of healthy smiles. Land of Smiles educates kids in a way that is easy for them to understand and apply to their lives.
To learn more about Land of Smiles, watch a preview and request the virtual program, visit landofsmilesil.org. Interested teachers, school nurses and principals can request access to the password-protected video on a date and time that works best for their school.
About the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation
The Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation was formed in March 2008 by Delta Dental of Illinois, a nonprofit 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 $11 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, visit deltadentalil.com.