Addressing a primary concern among parents of children with special needs, America’s ToothFairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation® has released an adapted version of its community education kit for use among children with intellectual disabilities. The kit, which includes a hands-on magnetic display board, giant toothbrush, and adapted lessons on toothbrushing, flossing, handwashing, germ transmission and nutrition, provides suggested modifications and techniques to make daily oral health routines more comfortable and accessible for people with intellectual disabilities.
America’s ToothFairy introduced these resources at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles in July 2015 in collaboration with the Special Olympics Special Smiles® program. Special Smiles provides comprehensive oral health care information, free dental screenings, preventive services, oral health education and care, when possible, to Special Olympics athletes. With Spanish and French translations, the kit is readily available for all Special Smiles programs throughout North America.
Practitioners, researchers and students associated with the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) were also introduced to the kit at their annual meeting. The AADMD provides a forum for healthcare professionals who provide clinical care to people with neurodevelopmental disorders and intellectual disabilities. Student chapters of the AADMD will use the kit in their educational outreach programs and become participating chapters of Students United with Americas ToothFairy®.
“Special Olympics and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry commend America’s ToothFairy for creating these educational kits that help us provide caring education and support for underserved children and youth with intellectual disabilities,” said Dr. Steven P. Perlman, Founder and Senior Global Clinical Advisor of the Special Olympics Special Smiles program.
“America’s ToothFairy is committed to oral health equality and extending vital oral health education and services to all children in need of care,” said Fern Ingber, America’s ToothFairy President and CEO. “We are very proud to make these resources available to all interested health professionals, volunteers and organizations who serve children with special needs and share our passion to see every child enjoy a healthy smile and good oral health.”
There are an estimated 6.5 million people in the U.S. with intellectual disabilities. The families of these children often have difficulty accessing care and oral health education, despite the fact that dental care is one of the most prevalent unmet health care needs for children with special needs.