February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and March is National Reading Month. With a belief that these programs can serve each other, representatives from Delta Dental visited the Michigan State Capitol on February 9 to distribute 1,500 literacy and oral health tote bags to 100 legislative offices. This month, lawmakers will visit 1,500 classrooms statewide to read to students and promote oral health education. Each tote bag included the following:
- Daily brushing and reading charts;
- An oral health storybook;
- A kids oral health DVD;
- “ReThink Your Drink” and brushing/reading posters;
- Oral health science activity cards;
- A first grade oral health lesson plan;
- A Healthy Kids Dental brochure.
The storybook and other materials will give students an opportunity to practice their reading skills while learning about oral hygiene, improving both literacy and oral health. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, children miss 51 million hours of school each year due to oral health-related issues. Plus, students who are absent miss critical instruction time, especially in early grades when reading skills are a focus.