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Evolution of the Toothfairy

This mystical icon has become a champion in the fight against pediatric dental disease

By Fern K. Ingber, MEd, NCOHF President & CEO

Americas toothfairy.

Remember when you were little and you lost a baby tooth? The Toothfairy was very real to you then, a playful spirit who visited you overnight and left something wonderful under your pillow. Some people believe they've outgrown the Toothfairy. Not so fast: the Toothfairy has evolved into someone we can all believe in.

Today's Toothfairy has transitioned into the very important role of helping children retain their permanent teeth, having beautiful smiles and enjoying healthier lives. This mystical icon has become a dedicated champion in the fight against the most common childhood problems in our country, pediatric dental disease. Now a Superhero with a powerful message, she is America's Toothfairy®.

For many years caring dental and medical professionals have worked tirelessly to bring dental treatment and preventive therapies to underserved children. Despite their efforts, the prevalence of pediatric dental disease in America continues to rise, causing pain and suffering for millions of children.

Dental Disease Affects Us All

Children with untreated dental disease often find it difficult to eat, sleep and speak clearly, affecting their ability to concentrate in school, make friends and develop the social skills necessary to be successful adults.

Because pediatric dental disease is progressive, children's suffering gets worse as they age leading to chronic pain, gum disease, broken or lost teeth, abscesses, and life-threatening secondary infections. Malnutrition because of dental complications can result in poor growth and development, weakened bones and muscles, emotional problems and other general health ailments. Until recently there was little emphasis on the connection between oral health and a person's overall health. Studies have shown a link between gum disease and inflammation associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and pre-term low birth weight babies.

100% of every dollar donated goes directly to programs providing children the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health.

When these neglected children's mouths finally get attention, it is often because severe pain drives them to emergency room treatment, costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year for a disease that is largely preventable. Information released by the Coalition on Oral Health Care estimates that for every $1 spent on preventive oral health measures, as much as $50 can be saved in emergency and restorative treatment expenditures.

It's easy to see the need for a certain kind of magic to fight pediatric dental disease. Fortunately we have America's Toothfairy, and she is coming to the rescue.

America's Toothfairy: Delivering Hope

Recognized as America's Toothfairy®, National Children's Oral Health Foundation® (NCOHF) is an independent national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to eliminating preventable pediatric dental disease and rescuing children from preventable pain. NCOHF supports a growing national Affiliate network of nonprofit oral health programs that provide critical educational, preventive, and restorative services to children from vulnerable populations. The NCOHF Affiliate network includes dedicated dental centers, mobile care units, university programs and collaborative community based initiatives that are aggressively responding to our nation's silent epidemic.

NCOHF volunteer programs also allow altruistic dental professionals the opportunity to address this oral health crisis in their own communities. Dental practitioners across the country are raising their hands to help care for a local underserved child or a promising at-risk teen, through the America's Toothfairy Dental Home Program™ and Tomorrow's SMILES®.

Individuals, corporations, and other organizations are showing tremendous support for NCOHF initiatives aimed at improving the oral health of our nation's most vulnerable children. In just four years, NCOHF has been able to deliver care through its Affiliate partners and volunteer dental providers to more than 1 million underserved children nationwide! Because generous corporate underwriters fund all program and operational expenses, 100% of every additional dollar donated to NCOHF helps children receive the vital professional services they need for a lifetime of good oral health.

The Toothfairy has long been a symbol of the magic of childhood. Over 4 million children in America are suffering right now, some with oral pain so severe, it keeps them up at night. For those children and for anyone concerned with healthy growth and development of our nation's most valuable resource, National Children's Oral Health Foundation has created America's Toothfairy. She is a symbol of change: an educator, protector, provider of preventive services and perhaps most importantly, a source of hope for children everywhere.

Is America's Toothfairy real? She is as real as we make her.

America's Toothfairy Needs You!

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