Tooth Fairy drive led by Always United aims to improve oral hygiene

Giving kids and adults something to smile about

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Oral hygiene plays an extremely important role with not only the mouth but the entire body’s health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease and tooth decay when left untreated.  

Poor oral hygiene also can lead to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, premature birth, memory loss and more. A person’s smile can change their outlook on life, having healthy teeth can improve self-confidence and success throughout life. 

To help meet the need in the community, Always United, an affinity group of United Way of the Midlands, held a Tooth Fairy Drive in October. The drive allowed donors to buy toothbrushes, toothbrush holders, toothpaste, floss, crayons and coloring pages for adults and kids to go into a dental hygiene kit. 

"We wanted to help and this is a simple yet potentially inexpensive way to help those in our community with limited access to dental care,” said Liz Anders, Always United chair 

Always United members put together 700 dental hygiene kits to donate to WellPartners, Mental Illness Recovery Center Inc. (MIRCI) Youth Drop-In Center and Palmetto Place 

Delta Dental was the presenting sponsor and Patterson Dental donated about 100 toothbrushes for the drive. 

"Many people go through the motions of brushing to check it off the to-do list," said Tamara Stockton, DDS, MAGD. "It's important to use those two minutes twice a day to actually focus on the task at hand. After brushing and flossing, take a few extra seconds to look inside your mouth. See if you missed any areas or if you notice any changes inside your oral cavity. These steps can help with early detection for things such as cavities, gum disease and cancer. If something looks different, set up an appointment to ask your dentist." 

The American Dental Association recommends doing these things to maintain good oral hygiene: 

  • Brush twice daily for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. Remember to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh. 
  • Floss between your teeth once a day to remove plaque that brushing your teeth fails to remove.
  • Rinse with mouthwash to help eliminate biofilm and bacteria. 
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • See your dental professional twice a year.

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