With health care and dental procedure costs in the U.S. skyrocketing, most people agree that the best solution is to teach and build healthy oral cleansing habits. Even with these good intentions, finding the money for toothbrushes and paste, floss, flossers, mouth wash, and other recommended tools to do so can be difficult for families. What better way to encourage and aid these families then by offering these items in community and private events where they will be? We’ve gathered up a list of ideas to help you. Maybe these can spark other ways to do so.
Fairs, Festivals, and Parades
Even though summer is almost over, there are a ton of opportunities coming up the rest of the year. School functions, autumn festivals and fairs, and end-of-year festivals all offer opportunities to integrate dental hygiene items in a fun way. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, flossers, mini bottles of mouthwash, micro-brushes, lost tooth holders, and even plaque disclosure tablets are great prizes for games such as the fishing game or dental trivia questions.
You can stash a ton of items into an oversized jar and set up a guessing game for them to win the contents.
If you set up a booth, you can have all kinds of fun games with dental related prizes such as a planko board or spinning wheel. You could also place items in latex gloves and blow them up; let visitors pop the balloons to get their prizes. If you can, partner up with a local dentist office, college or specialty college dental department or other local organizations who may be able to gather up or donate items to giveaway. You can offer a fun craft project such as Toothfairy box decorating, lost tooth bag sewing with floss, or jewelry making; let the creators keep the leftover floss from their project.
If you’re in charge of setting up a fun contest, consider a “Who Can Brush the Best” contest and let each participant keep the new brush they’re given for it.
Join in the fun of a local parade such as Homecoming or Thanksgiving, and toss individual oral hygiene items instead of candy.
Asking for Dental Related Giveaways
Asking a local dentist or other dental related entities for donations to giveaway great for general dental awareness, but often it’s free. Smart donators know they’ll get some great advertising attached to community service and be established as an expert in their field. Request a basket of products to raffle off, a certificate for a dental office exam, or coupons for common services. Most will be happy to give.
Holidays and Parties
National holidays and celebrations among friends and family also offer a great chance to give away teeth cleaning items. Christmas stockings are a great annual traditional where dental items can be stuffed away by Santa.
For birthday parties, stick dental goodies into prize bags with toys and confetti. You can also place them in piñatas with candy or toys.
Halloween is well known for the hordes of candy bought and given away. Drop dental items into trick or treaters bags, consider it a healthy and helpful treat. You can do the same for trunk or treat events or Halloween festivals. If you want to take it a step further, consider giving out powdery or plain chocolate candy, as saliva can break them down better than chewy varieties and keep them from lining gums and teeth.
As you shop for a baby shower gift, consider include first five years of dental items for baby, from finger covering gum scrubbers and teethers to starter toothbrushes and pastes.
Take advantage of tooth related holidays such as National toothache day (Feb 9), National Toothfairy Day (Feb 28 and/or Aug 22), World Smile Day (1st Friday of Oct), and National Dentists’ Day (March 6). These are great opportunities to teach and giveaway dental items in the classroom or at local events.
Other Tips and Resources
Many organizations take the task of oral health seriously and would probably be willing to help, including Dentistry From The Heart, Mission of Mercy, United Way, and the American Dental Association. If you’re going to take the above suggestions and can’t find any local offices or community service organizations to donate goods toward your plans, buy in bulk in places like Costco or Sam’s club will reduce costs. Along with the fun and games, consider incorporating some knowledge, such as how to brush properly or foods that help keep the mouth healthy. (See our post “How to Work Dental Health Info into Children’s Activities” for more fun ideas!)
Be a Part of the Future
Prevention is increasingly becoming the focus when it comes to dental education and disease eradication. You can be a part of that agenda by encouraging proper teeth care and finding ways to give your community members what they need to do so. We hope these ideas will help you get creative in this endeavor. In the meantime, we’ll be doing the same in our Arlington office.