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Delta Dental of Tennessee's Smile180 Foundation and Tennessee PBS KIDS Stations Launch "Healthy Smiles" Educational Campaign


Delta Dental of Tennessee's charitable arm, the Smile180 Foundation, today announced the launch of a statewide oral health education campaign in partnership with PBS KIDS stations across Tennessee. The year-long "Healthy Smiles" campaign features a series of public service announcements (PSAs), local community events, and new educational materials designed to teach children about oral health and encourage healthy habits.

"I am thrilled to announce the launch of our Healthy Smiles campaign in partnership with PBS KIDS stations across Tennessee," said Jeff Ballard, President & CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee. "Together, we are committed to educating and inspiring families about the importance of maintaining good oral health habits from an early age. By empowering children with knowledge and resources, we can help them achieve healthier smiles and brighter futures."

"Nashville Public Television is excited to once again partner with Delta Dental of Tennessee's Smile180 Foundation for our continued focus on the whole child, including their health and well-being," said Becky Magura, President & CEO of Nashville Public Television. "Dental decay is the most common chronic disease in children, and we hope to bring awareness to its prevention with a robust broadcast and streaming educational campaign featuring the animated character Pepper the Badger. We are grateful to Delta Dental for their support and care of our community's children in partnership with NPT."

While dental decay is largely preventable, it is on the rise in kids as the number of children receiving routine preventive care has declined following the pandemic. This trend is especially concerning because children with poor oral health are three times more likely than their peers to miss school, and poor oral health can have a detrimental effect on a child's quality of life and success later in life. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that children start seeing a dentist every six months, by their first birthday or once their first tooth emerges.

The "Healthy Smiles" campaign consists of three one-minute PSAs that will air on the six PBS KIDS stations across Tennessee throughout the year. Each of these PSAs feature Pepper the Badger as he covers the topics of The Importance of Brushing Your Teeth, What to Expect Going to the Dentist, and How Drinking Water and Eating Healthy Foods Make Your Teeth Shine. Local affiliate stations will also host a series of community events throughout the year, including four Teacher Teacher events in Memphis hosted by WKNO, and various events organized by Nashville Public Television.

The local stations are also teaming up to distribute Dr. Christina Rosenthal's book "You Can Become a Doctor Too" to kids and families. Her book aims to inspire and educate children about the possibilities of pursuing careers in healthcare and to show kids that becoming a doctor is not just a dream, but a tangible goal that they can achieve with determination and hard work. "You Can Become a Doctor Too" tells the story of a young boy, Art, and his classmates who believe that becoming a doctor is impossible until they meet one at Career Day.

Dr. Rosenthal, a graduate of the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Dentistry, founded a mentoring program, Determined to be a Doctor Someday (DDS), to encourage underrepresented students to pursue careers in healthcare. Inspired by her own journey, the DDS program exposes kids to career possibilities in healthcare in an engaging and age-appropriate format, with programs for kids ages 2-5 and ages 14-18. She is also a board member for the Smile180 Foundation.

To access the "Healthy Smiles" PSAs, educational materials, and other resources in one place, visit the Delta Dental of Tennessee Kids Corner. For more information about the community events happening across the state, contact your local PBS KIDS station.

To learn more about Delta Dental of Tennessee's charitable work, visit the Smile180 Foundation website.

Delta Dental of Tennessee

Delta Dental of Tennessee is the state's largest independent dental benefits carrier with 1.5 million lives covered. As part of the Delta Dental Plans Association, Delta Dental of Tennessee members have access to the largest dental network in the nation with more than 200,985 providers serving more than 538,819 locations. With the simple mission of ensuring healthy smiles, Delta Dental of Tennessee works hard to help members of the communities it serves. Along with its corporate foundation, Smile180, Delta Dental of Tennessee donated more than $4.0 million in funding and in-kind services to over 100 organizations in 2023.

About Nashville Public Television: Nashville Public Television, Nashville's PBS station, is available free and over-the-air to nearly 2.4 million people throughout the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky viewing area. NPT's four broadcast channels are NPT, the main channel; secondary channel NPT2 (WORLD Channel); NPT3, a 24/7 PBS Kids channel; and NPT4 (Create TV). NPT is also available to anyone in the world through its array of NPT digital services, including wnpt.org, YouTube channels and the PBS video app. NPT provides, through the power of traditional television and interactive digital communications, quality educational, cultural and civic experiences that address issues and concerns of the people of the Nashville region, and which thereby help improve the lives of those we serve. Join the conversation at facebook.com/nashvillepublictelevision, on X @npt8 and on Instagram @nashvillepubtv.


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