In November of 2018, America’s ToothFairy put out the call to Scouts across the nation to teach their communities about oral health and earn their “Oral Health Action HERO” patches. Thanks to a generous donation from DentaQuest, the patches were available at no cost for their participation in America’s ToothFairy’s Health Education and Resource Outreach (HERO) Program. Scout troops flocked to register as participants and within days all 2,000 patches had been reserved.
Upon hearing of the popularity of the Scout Patch Project, DentaQuest provided additional funding to allow up to 2,000 more Scouts in New York, Florida, Texas and Michigan to participate, doubling the number of Scouts reached. The HERO program engages participants in addressing oral health issues unique to their geographical area by conducting research; teaching children, teens, parents and community leaders about the importance of oral health; and promoting positive oral health behaviors in their communities. Since November, 23 troops have completed projects and collected more than 3,600 oral care products for children in their communities.
Through the program, Scouts choose three oral health-related activities from a list of projects focused on changing perceptions, changing behaviors and changing the environment of children’s oral health. Once the activities are completed and a brief report submitted, Scouts will receive their “Oral Health Action Hero” patch. Examples of smile-saving oral health activities include:
- Holding a Smile Drive to collect oral care products for children in need.
- Providing a dental health presentation at a local health fair.
- Visiting a dental office to learn how dentists and dental hygienists help patients maintain good oral health.
- Presenting dental health educational lessons to younger Scouts.
- Conducting healthy food or water demonstrations.
- Planting a Smile Garden.
Since the program began, America’s ToothFairy has awarded more than 25,000 Scout patches to Scouts across the country. This is the third year of funding from DentaQuest for the Scout patches. Scout Troops in New York, Florida, Texas and Michigan can learn more about the program and register at www.AmericasToothFairy.org/program-resources/hero.