MISS NATIVE AMERICAN USA AND AMERICA'S TOOTHFAIRY TEAM UP TO SAVE SMILES OF NATIVE AMERICAN CHILDREN
Though it is almost completely preventable, tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood disease in the US. According to the Indian Health Service, American Indian/Alaska Native preschool children have the highest levels of tooth decay compared to other population groups. Many do not know untreated tooth decay can lead to life-threatening infections and even death. After becoming aware of the tragedy of Deamonte Driver, I committed to doing everything possible to prevent the loss of another child’s life due to a dental disease and lack of access to dental care.
My name is Kristina Hyatt, and I am Miss Native American USA 2015-2016. As a dental hygienist, I will utilize the MNAUSA title as a platform to promote the importance of dental health to create beautiful, healthy smiles throughout Indian Country.
I am teaming up with America’s ToothFairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation and their Smile Drive campaign to collect oral care products (toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss) for underserved children and youth. I hope to coordinate multiple Smile Drive locations benefitting as many Native American children as possible. I hope you will join me in protecting the smiles of Native American children by becoming a sponsor, financial or product donor, or volunteer to help coordinate a Smile Drive near you.
In February 2015, I hosted my first Smile Drive in Cherokee, North Carolina. It was a great success with more than 5,000 oral care products collected! After distributing the products to children at a local youth center and teaching them a “brushing” song, one little boy could not wait to brush his teeth because they were “dirty.” The smiles on their faces were priceless, especially after receiving something as simple as a toothbrush.
We have our differences when it comes to our cultures and traditions, but one thing we all have in common, is that the most beautiful thing we can wear is our smile. Be proud of who you are and where you come from; and be sure to smile about it. Help me make a difference. May God bless you!
Start early! Any individual or organization can host a Smile Drive. It's simple!
- Register your collection site & donation site: http://bit.ly/SDNAKids
- Get a box & decorate it.
- Print out the signage sent to you in the confirmation email in the Smile Drive Toolkit.
- Promote your Smile Drive location site(s).
- Collect oral healthcare products (toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, etc.).
- Count your products & complete your reporting form by 3/31/16: http://bit.ly/SDRpt16
- Distribute the product to your donation site.
- Smile because you did a good thing!