(Charlotte, NC, February 11, 2015) – America's ToothFairy: National Children's Oral Health Foundation announced today a partnership with the International Federation of Dental Hygienists (IFDH) to increase public awareness of oral disease prevention and promote positive oral health behaviors among at-risk children and their families. Though it is nearly 100% preventable, pediatric dental disease is one of the most prevalent chronic childhood diseases in America and affects 60-90% of school children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
This partnership will provide multiple opportunities for IFDH members to expand their roles as community health educators and oral health advocates by participating in America's ToothFairy programs for vulnerable children.
Throughout February, National Children's Dental Health Month, dental hygienists across the U.S. will join the America's ToothFairy Smile Drive, a national campaign to raise oral health awareness and collect oral care products for at-risk children. Dental hygienists and dental hygiene students will participate by holding toothbrush and toothpaste collection drives at their dental practice, school, pharmacy, or other location and donating the collected items to nonprofit charities serving children in their community.
Dental hygienists will also participate in the Esther Wilkins Education Program (EWEP), an America’s ToothFairy initiative that builds on the role of dental hygienists and dental hygiene students as prevention specialists by providing educational assets for community outreach activities. These assets include the ToothFairy 101™ Community Education Kit, a comprehensive tool for improving oral health literacy covering nutrition, germ transmission and prevention, mouth safety, tobacco, and infant care, as well as basic preventive strategies appropriate for children of all ages and learning levels. In return for the kit, members of the program agree to conduct a minimum of four community educational activities annually. Last year, EWEP members reached nearly 50,000 children and caregivers across the U.S., Canada and internationally through mission trips and international volunteerism.
"We are proud to work alongside America's ToothFairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation to mutually advance our missions through an array of joint activities," said Dr. JoAnn Gurenlian, President of International Federation of Dental Hygienists. "This partnership will provide new opportunities to drive positive oral health behaviors among children and their families and increase public awareness that oral disease can be prevented through proven regimens."
Collaboration with the IFDH and its network of more than 77,000 dental hygienists in 28 countries will help pave the way for America's ToothFairy to further expand its programs and educational resources to children and families in need worldwide.
"As oral health advocates and prevention specialists, dental hygienists play a critical role in helping children develop positive oral health behaviors," said Fern Ingber, America's ToothFairy President and CEO. "Together with the International Federation of Dental Hygienists, we look forward to expanding and enhancing services for vulnerable children not only in the U.S. and Canada but for children and families around the globe."