ST. LOUIS, MO., March 2, 2012 — Tooth decay, the leading chronic infectious disease among children in our nation, causes pain and can interfere with a child’s ability to eat, speak, smile and concentrate, and has the potential to affect one’s systemic health. To help combat this issue, Delta Dental of Missouri is educating and inspiring children to adopt healthy life habits and help them better understand how their dental health and overall health go hand-in-hand through its upbeat, interactive, traveling Land of Smiles program.
The 2012 tour made a stop on Monday, Feb. 27 at Northwest Elementary in Pettis County where 100 children were inspired by the entertaining performance. Before the end of May, two separate “Land of Smiles” casts will collectively teach more than 70,000 students at over 300 schools in 90 counties across the state of Missouri about the importance of taking care of their smiles, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly.
The “Land of Smiles” show in Pettis County featured Tooth Wizard and his sidekick Panda. The pair got the children excited about brushing and flossing properly and visiting their “best friend,” the dentist. He also discussed what foods are good and bad for teeth and overall health, and the importance of eating right, exercising daily and making healthy choices.
The Tooth Wizard came bearing gifts for the students. After the show, the nurse received a Land of Smiles curriculum kit that can be used to help reinforce the good oral health messages of the show in the classroom. The fun treasure chest included a mouth model and large toothbrush, four children’s books, a sing-a-long CD and a Land of Smiles DVD. Each child is also sent home with a “smile bag” from Delta Dental packed with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, an educational coloring sheet and a mirror decal reminding them to brush twice each day.
“Dental disease is 100 percent preventable,” commented David Haynes, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Missouri. “All you have to do is stick to the dental health basics. Over the past decade, our Tooth Wizard, Panda and PlaqueMan characters have not only reached over 700,000 children with this important messaging, they have inspired change. We are proud to be improving the oral health and overall health of the communities we serve.”
Delta Dental’s work to improve oral and overall health
Haynes added, “Through our Land of Smiles program, we reach children of all social and economic backgrounds, but we put particular emphasis on reaching children who live in rural communities where families may have less access to preventative care. The program, in its entirety, is provided to schools free of charge.”
To learn more about this program, or if you are interested in hosting the award-winning Land of Smiles program at your school, have your child’s teacher, principal or school nurse call 888-383-0008 or visit http://www.deltadentalmo.com/.
Delta Dental is the dental benefits leader in Missouri and the U.S. Ninety-six percent of Missouri dentists participate in a Delta Dental network and four out of five dentists participate nationally. In Missouri, more than 1.3 million members in over 1,600 companies, large and small, choose Delta Dental. Nationally, nearly one in three families with dental benefits choose Delta Dental – 56 million members from 95,000 companies. Delta Dental is also committed to improving the oral health and overall health of the children in our community and therefore proudly supports the Delta Dental Health Theatre, Give Kids a Smile and Delta Dental’s Land of Smiles educational touring theater program.