ATLANTA, Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The dire state of oral health for many children across America has led Kool Smiles, a leading provider of quality dental care in underserved communities nationwide, to partner with the Institute for America's Health (IAH), a non-profit organization focused on advancing the health of our nation's youth through education, to launch a dental education program in recognition of Children's Dental Health Month. The program is designed for children in grades K-5 and includes free lesson plans and toothbrushes to teach students about good oral health.
"The Surgeon General has determined oral care to be the leading unmet need for children across America today, and tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease," said Dr. Polly Buckey, DDS, Managing Dental Director at Kool Smiles. "Kool Smiles' dentists take the time in office to educate our young patients and their parents about proper dental hygiene practices, so it made sense to take our practice into the classroom and assist teachers in talking with students about the importance of good oral health. Our curriculum aids educators on how to demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques and how to develop great oral health habits that will take them into adulthood."
IAH is teaming up with local Kool Smiles dentists to introduce the curriculum in K-5 partner schools across the nation as part of its ongoing WAY to a Healthier America (WHA) initiative.
"The WHA program is designed to foster a culture of wellness in schools by giving teachers training and resources to create positive behavior change in key areas of health, such as nutrition and hygiene," said Stuart Reese, Executive Director of IAH. "We are excited to work with Kool Smiles dentists to bring educational activities and toothbrushes to our partner schools and promote good oral health in our classrooms during National Children's Dental Health Month and beyond."
The K-5 lesson plans are available to all K-5 teachers and can be downloaded directly from the Kool Smiles website. Educators who download the lesson plans will receive free toothbrushes (one for each student in the classroom) to help students practice good oral hygiene.
"Many of our patients come to Kool Smiles never having been to a dentist, and lacking the knowledge of the proper techniques in basic dental hygiene practices – such as brushing and/or flossing. In some cases, patients do not have basic items like a toothbrush or toothpaste at home," Dr. Buckey said. "Our goal is to equip teachers with all of the tools and resources they need to ensure kids not only understand how to take care of their teeth, but are also able to do so once they leave the classroom."
Each lesson plan is organized by grade level and includes age-appropriate curricula to facilitate a fun and interactive classroom environment. Activities range from coloring sheets and role playing for younger grades to discussion questions and quizzes for older students.
Kool Smiles has set aside 50,000 toothbrushes for teachers who use the curriculum. The toothbrush donation was made possible by Facebook users through a one-for-one campaign, where Kool Smiles offered a toothbrush for every Facebook "like" they received.
To download the lesson plans and receive dental kits for your school or classroom, visit http://www.mykoolsmiles.com/dentallessonplans.
About Kool Smiles
Kool Smiles is dedicated to creating a world of happy, healthy smiles. As a leading dental health provider, Kool Smiles' mission is to improve lives by providing high quality dental care in a fun, compassionate environment. Kool Smiles' dentists are proud to offer care to kids and adults with almost any insurance plan, including State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), Medicaid and Tricare. Kool Smiles also provides oral health education programs through partnerships with community schools and organizations. For more information, please visit www.mykoolsmiles.com.
About Institute for America's Health (IAH)
IAH is a non-profit organization focused on advancing the health of our nation's youth through public policy, research and education. For more information, please visit http://healthy-america.org.
About the WAY to a Healthier America (WHA) Initiative
An IAH program, the WHA initiative is a grassroots effort to reduce obesity by focusing on prevention starting with early childhood. The program aims to change the very culture of the classroom to one of wellness through teacher and faculty training, lesson plans, and activity materials. For more information, please visit http://waytoahealthieramerica.org/.