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Delta Dental of Tennessee releases new children’s health educational materials

New resources include K-5 water-related health education materials, videos developed in partnership with the Nashville Zoo, toothbrush donation to celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month, and more.

NASHVILLE — In celebration of Children’s Dental Health Month, recognized annually in February, Delta Dental of Tennessee (Delta Dental) today announced the release of new educational materials for elementary schools through its “Water’s Cool @ School” initiative. “Water’s Cool @ School” aims to encourage students to drink more water; Delta Dental recently awarded grants to 55 elementary schools across Tennessee to replace an existing water fountain with a contactless bottle filling station.
“Children’s Dental Health Month is an especially timely reminder this year of the importance of establishing good oral hygiene habits at a young age,” said Dr. Phil Wenk, CEO and president of Delta Dental of Tennessee. “Since the start of the pandemic nearly a year ago, many school-based oral hygiene programs have been limited or shut down altogether, and 40 percent of parents have not tried to get dental care for their child. This is very worrisome, as children with oral health problems are more likely to miss school and suffer academically.”
The educational materials, which are available online and at no cost to any elementary school, include activity sheets, sugar demonstrations, games, posters, and a video series developed in partnership with the Nashville Zoo. In the videos, Zoo animals Ube the kangaroo and Jake Quyllenhall, a porcupine, model their own unique good dental hygiene habits to encourage kids to take care of their own teeth. The videos are each two minutes long to serve as a guide for how long children should be brushing their teeth, twice each day. Keeping up good habits at home, including brushing and flossing twice a day and limiting sugary beverages, is especially important during longer gaps between visits to the dentist.
Additionally, over 50,000 toothbrushes will go home with Tennessee students this month through Delta Dental’s longstanding support for food banks and BackPack programs that provide weekend meals for children in food-insecure households. Food banks have experienced unprecedented demand since the start of the pandemic; today, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee distributes nearly 1 million pounds of food each week, and 1 in 5 children in Middle Tennessee are at risk for hunger, up from 1 in 6 prior to the pandemic.
“At a time when demand for food assistance is continuing to grow, we are so grateful for our friends at Delta Dental who continue to step up and help us take care of Middle Tennessee children and families,” said Nancy Keil, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
While Marshall Molar, Delta Dental of Tennessee’s official Ambassador of Smiles, has largely been in quarantine during the pandemic, kids can visit with him anytime online via the Marshall Molar Kid’s Corner, home to additional children’s health activities and videos.
To access the Water’s Cool @ School educational materials,  go to https://tennessee.deltadental.com/wcs/educational-materials/.
To learn more about Delta Dental of Tennessee, please visit DeltaDentalTN.com.