The National Museum of Dentistry, located on the founding campus of the University of Maryland, has been awarded a Give Kids A Smile Champion Grant from the American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation to enhance children's oral health, particularly those from low-income families.
An additional award was given by the DentaQuest Foundation to help provide every first-grader in Baltimore City public schools with educational resources to ensure good oral health practices. The state of Maryland's Office of Oral Health also will provide toothpaste and children's toothbrushes to distribute to the classrooms.
"We decided to look in our own backyard and test a program that will intercept every child in Baltimore City early enough to teach oral health life skills that will change how they view and take care of their teeth," said National Museum of Dentistry Executive Director Jonathan Landers, MBA.
The museum will be taking its signature oral health education program--MouthPower--into the Baltimore City schools to help young people learn the importance of good oral health in a healthy life.
The museum will distribute MouthPower oral health kits, including tip posters and educational CD-ROMS, to every first grade classroom, as well as tip cards to 6,500 students about how to brush and floss.
The program also will provide toothbrushes and toothpaste for the children to continue practicing what they've learned at home. The program also will offer subsidized field trips to the museum for first-grade classes most in need of financial assistance.
The MouthPower educational program explores how to brush and floss, why to "say no" to tobacco, and how to make healthy food choices. It has been used by the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Baltimore City Head Start to educate children during National Children's Dental Health Month, as well as organizations nationally to support oral health education initiatives.
More than 5,000 students also encounter the program onsite during field trips to the museum each year.
"Unfortunately, many Baltimore City students--who are most in need of our programs--cannot afford to access them," said Landers. "These grants will help provide every first-grade teacher and student with oral health education resources in their classroom and will provide an opportunity for the most 'in-need' first-grade classes to visit the museum without charge."
Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) Champion Grantees are established national initiatives who collaborate with Give Kids A Smile to enhance children's oral health. The goal of the grant is to provide a competitive funding opportunity for GKAS Program Champions to receive support for initiatives that uphold the Give Kids A Smile vision.
Give Kids A Smile is an annual program of the ADA that works with thousands of the nation's dentists and their dental team members to provide free oral health care services to children from low-income families.
The National Museum of Dentistry also received a grant from DentaQuest Foundation to support this program as an early intervention tool that will impact not only those children that are able to visit the museum, but take these critical lessons into the classroom. The museum's work directly relates to the DentaQuest Foundation's mission to promote and support optimal oral health.
The state of Maryland's Office of Oral Health also will provide toothpaste and children's toothbrushes to distribute to the classrooms, as well as a magnet with a phone number families can call for assistance in locating a dentist.