October 14, 2023
Delta Dental of Missouri’s popular Land of Smiles® dental education program is on the road this fall, taking the crusade for healthy teeth to 23,000 youngsters at more than 100 schools across the state in the coming weeks. The cast of dynamic superhero characters made their most recent stop in Lee’s Summit for performances at Mason Elementary School, Richardson Elementary School and Hawthorn Hill Elementary School, teaching good dental health habits to 790 students in kindergarten through third grade.
The Land of Smiles® experience follows superhero Captain Super GrinSM, as he defeats his nemesis, Caz CavitySM, with help from his sidekicks Terri Tooth FairySM and ToothpickSM. Students learn the importance of brushing teeth twice a day, flossing, using mouthwash, eating healthy foods and visiting the dentist regularly. The program includes an oral health curriculum that adheres to National Health Education Standards, as well as standards for Missouri. It contains engaging, age-appropriate materials to make learning about dental health entertaining for kids and includes activity sheets, which are also available in Spanish. Delta Dental of Missouri also offers free “smile bags” to schools for students who participate in the program. Each bag includes a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss to help students practice the good oral health habits they learn. Newly created short videos, which recap important oral health tips that the program teaches children in schools, are now available for caregivers and can be found at https://www.landofsmilesmo.org/parent-caregiver-information.
“Our lively Land of Smiles show makes learning about dental health truly fun for kids, but most importantly, it’s memorable,” said Stacy Harris, supervisor of community outreach at Delta Dental of Missouri. “Pre- and post-show testing demonstrates that, on average, students show a nearly 30% increase in their good oral health behavior and knowledge after seeing a performance. That’s the positive outcome we all want.”
Since its inception in the fall of 2002, the Delta Dental of Missouri’s Land of Smiles® program has taught more than 1.1 million kids how to take care of their growing smiles through more than 5,800 onsite performances at schools in 113 Missouri counties, and through its online version. At least 25% of schools receiving the program have more than 80% of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. The Land of Smiles® experience is provided free of charge to schools, courtesy of Delta Dental of Missouri.
Local teachers, school nurses and principals are invited to email Schools@NationalTheatre.com to request an in-person, live show for this school year, or visit www.LandofSmilesMO.org to gain access to the online program on a date and time that works for their students.
Delta Dental of Missouri is the state’s leading dental benefits provider and a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. It provides more than 2.1 million members with access to affordable, high-quality dental care through group plans tailored to meet the needs of organizations of all sizes, from large corporations to small businesses with two or more employees. Delta Dental also offers dental benefit plans directly to individuals and families. It also provides access to affordable, high-quality vision care through group vision benefit plans. The company proudly supports oral health initiatives, educational programs and charitable causes that help educate people about the importance of dental health and provide free dental care to those in need. Delta Dental of Missouri also created the Missouri Dental Care Resource Guide to help individuals access information about low-cost and free dental care options in their area—available online at www.DeltaDentalMO.com/ResourceGuide1. To learn more about the company, visit www.DeltaDentalMO.com.