Since coming together last year to provide support to dentists impacted by the pandemic, the Washington State Dental Association and Delta Dental of Washington have formed a partnership that brings us together on a variety of strategic initiatives, including the creation of a cavity-free Washington.
As part of this effort, the WSDA – along with Arcora Foundation and the School Nurse Organization of Washington – has partnered with Delta Dental in support of The Tooth Fairy Experience. This youth-oriented oral health education program has reached more than 40,000 children since launching in late 2019, with live in-person and virtual classroom and community presentations led by a diverse team of tooth fairies.
The year-round program aims to make dental health education interactive and fun for kids 10 & under in an effort to help reduce cavities and increase the number of children who regularly visit the dentist. In addition to the educational components, the program offers resources for parents, letters from the Tooth Fairy, a Tooth Fairy hotline, a quarterly e-newsletter, plus the Tooth Fairy’s very own website and Facebook/Instagram channels @ToothFairyWA.
Delta Dental first created the program as a result of a state-wide Smile Survey that found that 53% of 3rd graders in our state had some form of dental decay.
“It’s unacceptable that more than half of third graders have experienced tooth decay,” says Diane Oakes, Chief Mission Officer for Delta Dental. “We’re grateful for our partnership with WSDA and dentists statewide to promote early childhood dental health toward our shared vision for a cavity-free Washington.”
Why are cavities such an issue? “Dental disease is the single most common chronic childhood disease, five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than seasonal allergies,” says WSDA board member and pediatric dentist Dr. John Gibbons. “With routine dental visits and teaching kids how to care for their teeth at an early age, we can set children on a course for a lifetime of healthy smiles.”
As part of the program, free materials are being offered to dentists, including:
- The Clean Teeth Club: A Tooth Fairy Tale Storybook for clinic waiting rooms (limit 2)
- Coloring & Activity Books to give to young patients following exams (limit 100)
- The Tooth Fairy Experience Program Info Cards to share information about the program with parents (limit 50 cards + one card holder)
Each of the items can be replenished when dentist office supplies run low.
Dentists are invited to request any of the free materials above by sending your mailing address and desired quantities to MyDDWAAmbassador@deltadentalwa.com – a special dentist’s page will be added to The Tooth Fairy Experience website later this fall, where material re-orders can also be placed. Please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery.
WSDA, Delta Dental, and our other program partners are grateful for the collaboration with dentists statewide in the shared goal of eliminating cavities, especially among young children.