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Tooth Wizard Battles PlaqueMan during February's Children's Dental Health Month; Makes Illinois Kids Smile
Date:1/31/2008

Educational theater program teaches kids good oral health habits to defeat

tooth decay

LISLE, Ill., Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tooth Wizard is kicking off the New Year with a resolution to help save children's teeth in Illinois elementary schools. And he'll be enlisting help from the pint-sized crusaders at school assemblies across the state during February's Children's Dental Health Month to defeat his arch nemesis, PlaqueMan.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080131/AQTH110)

The two costumed characters are stars of an educational oral health theater program called "Teeth on the Go," which is being presented throughout Illinois schools to nearly 30,000 students. Delta Dental of Illinois (DDIL), a not-for-profit dental service corporation, is offering the program to schools free of charge.

In February, the Teeth on the Go program will visit schools throughout Chicago and the Chicagoland-area, Springfield, Peoria, Berwyn, Harvey, Waukegan, and more. For specific locations, dates and times, please visit: http://www.deltadentalil.com (in the "About Us" section).

According to Oral Health America: A Report of the Surgeon General, tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever.

"Few parents and teachers realize the magnitude of tooth decay for our children," said Dr. Robert E. Dennison, president and chief executive officer of DDIL. "And unlike many of the childhood diseases, proper dental habits instilled at a young age can virtually prevent it."

Tooth Wizard and PlaqueMan deliver a highly entertaining program, educating children on how to get rid of what the Tooth Wizard refers to as that "icky, sticky, slimy, grimy, sort of yellowy, greeny gunk" -- in other words, plaque -- that causes cavities and damages teeth and gums.

The program boosts the enthusiasm of young children for taking care of their teeth and for their overall oral health. The characters not only explain proper brushing techniques, how to floss, good and bad foods for the teeth and why it is important to visit the dentist at least twice a year, but also demonstrate how to do these things using an oversized tooth model and toothbrush, as well as student volunteers.

Alarming Statistics

Though professional care is necessary for maintaining oral health, 25 percent of poor children have not seen a dentist before entering kindergarten. Additionally, uninsured children are 2.5 times less likely than insured children to receive dental care. Delta Dental of Illinois recognizes that many families do not have the means to visit the dentist as frequently as necessary. Through its community benefit efforts, Delta Dental of Illinois is supporting programs that will work to increase access to care. The "Teeth on the Go" program provides an important component in improving oral health as well.

Keeping the Smiles Alive

The oral health experience extends beyond the stage performance. Every child who attends the program receives a "dental treat" bag containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and an oral health brochure explaining the importance of good oral health.

Each school receives a "Teeth on the Go" curriculum kit for educators to use to help reinforce good oral health habits with their students. The kit includes visual and audio educational tools, including a 12-minute video, an audiocassette tape, books, and a three-times-larger-than-life-sized mouth model and toothbrush to demonstrate proper brushing techniques.

About Delta Dental of Illinois

Delta Dental of Illinois is a not-for-profit dental service corporation specializing in providing comprehensive, easy-to-use and cost-effective benefits to over one million employees and family members in more than 3,200 employee groups throughout Illinois. Based in Lisle, Ill., Delta Dental of Illinois offers an array of extensive nationwide network-based managed fee-for-service, PPO and dental HMO plans.

For more information:

Ann Marie Walker

Corporate Communications Manager

630.724.4039

awalker@deltadentalil.com

Laura Muma

LM PR Inc.

773.960.3960

lmuma@sbcglobal.net


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SOURCE Delta Dental of Illinois
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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