Students at the Nooksack House of Children Head Start in Deming had a visit from the Tooth Fairy on Jan. 31. The “Tooth Fairy Experience” included lessons in proper dental hygiene.
The Tooth Fairy Experience is a free program provided by Delta Dental of Washington. Tooth fairies travel to elementary schools around the state to talk with children about cavities and brushing.
In Deming, Tooth Fairy Akira had the students put on their “imaginary thinking caps” to visualize shrinking inside of their mouth to view bacteria and the formation of cavities.
“Bacteria is usually harmless and great hanging out in our mouth,” Akira said. “Do you know what that bacteria loves to do? It loves to eat sugar. If we are eating a lot of sugar and the sugar sticks to our teeth and we don’t brush it off all the way, the bacteria are so excited, and they eat up that sugar.”
Health disparities are widespread within childhood dental hygiene. Hispanic and American Indian/Alaskan Native children had a 50% higher rate of tooth decay than white children, according to the last Smile Survey conducted throughout Washington State in 2016. Children with tooth decay are more likely to do worse academically and miss more classes, according to Delta Dental.
The Nooksack Headstart elementary program offers dental care, said Brandy Anderson, the nutrition and wellness manager at the school. Each month, a dentist comes to apply fluoride and check the oral health of children.