Do you remember losing your first tooth? Our baby teeth, or primary teeth, often seem unimportant to children and parents alike. To better inform the public about how primary teeth are important to a child’s development and school success, the McMillen Center’s CEO Holli Seabury has written her second children’s book, I Need My Teeth. Illustrated by Scott Nitza, Graphic Designer and Marketing Associate for the Center, the book tells the story of a boy named James who asks the Tooth Fairy to take all his baby teeth at once so he has enough money to buy a Roger the Red Robot toy.
The book explores the ways that James struggles without his teeth. These include not being able to eat healthy foods, speak clearly, smile, and not playing with his friends, who make fun of him. The book has a happy ending; unfortunately the same is not true for the millions of children who suffer from the pain of dental decay. Nearly 51 million hours of school are missed each year in the United States due to dental problems and children with decay have lower grades and participate less in school. “I was saddened to discover how many children will suffer life-long effects from dental decay in their early years,” Seabury states, “It is completely preventable and we can help parents understand how to keep their children’s teeth and bodies healthy so they can be successful in school.”
In honor of Dental Health Month, the McMillen Center donated 15 copies of I Need My Teeth to the Allen County Public Library. These books may be checked out from any of the 14 branches. The library’s Youth Services Coordinator, Angela Eck, explained that some branches received visits from the Tooth Fairy in February as part of their Dental Health Month events. Coordinated with the Isaac Knapp Dental Alliance, these visits included book readings and activities designed to engage children in learning how important their teeth are for developing good health. The McMillen Center is a collaborating partner with the Dental Alliance.
The library’s reading programs are delivered as part of the library’s commitment to Kindergarten preparedness. “Story time is a big way to help children understand the importance of reading and encourage the development of literacy skills,” said Eck. “We start with newborns and encourage parents to talk, sing, read, write and play with their children,” she continued. “Even babies can participate in our summer reading program.”
The McMillen Center for Health Education developed Brush!, an oral health curriculum and interactive education program for children, parents, and teachers. The goal of the program is to reduce the amount of severe pediatric dental decay so children can start school ready to learn. More information can be found on the McMillen Center’s Brush! website, www.brushdental.org, or by calling the Center at (260)456-4511.
About the McMillen Center for Health Education
The McMillen Center for Health Education’s mission is to provide vital and effective, preventive health education programs that promote physical, emotional, and social well-being. The McMillen Center fulfills its mission by providing fact based health topics and by promoting responsibility in health choices and decision making. Programs are presented by professional health educators annually to nearly 40,000 youth and adults nationwide.