February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and Clarice Yentsch and Wally Smith want you to know about it. The pair have organized a month’s worth of fun activities, awareness, and dental hygiene tips to kids in the Keys.
Yentsch’s not-for-profit foundation, the Waypoint Foundation, is raising funds for a mobile dental clinic for the Keys, and engaged Smith, a dentist, to lead the initiative. The exhibit and fair are the public kick-off to what Yentsch and Smith hope will be a lengthy conversation about dental health.
Festivities begin on Saturday, Feb. 1 with a ribbon-cutting and opening reception for the “Smile Maker” Art Exhibition at the Key Largo Library Community Room. “Oh, this is the fun part,” smiles Yentsch, describing the exhibit.
The interactive, four-part exhibit will take dentistry and tooth health to the next level, with installations like medicine cabinets filled with Twinkies and Cokes juxtaposed against cabinets with toothbrushes and floss. Pictures of different animals smiling will also be prominently displayed, as will adult and children’s X-rays. There will even be dental uniforms for the different dental careers available, complete with lanyards outlining their role in oral health.
The star of the show is a 1:12 scale model of a mobile dental clinic. Yentsch and Smith are trying to raise funds to bring a full-sized, operational clinic to the Keys. Until they can, they’re using creativity and fun to engage youths about the importance of dental hygiene.
The traveling exhibit will run for the entire month of February in Key Largo before potentially moving down the Keys. During that time, the librarians at the Key Largo Library will continue to host tooth health-themed projects such as painting giant teeth with toothbrushes to learn proper technique.
On Feb. 14, Yentsch and Smith will also host a Public Dental Fair in Key Largo. There will be tents, refreshments, dental gifts, and even a tooth fairy costume parade. “No kid will leave without something interesting and good for their teeth,” assured Smith. “It’s going to be a lot of fun!”
For more information about the Smile Maker initiative, visit www.mobilesmilemaker.org. Read more about the sponsor, the Waypoint Foundation, and the mobile dental clinic in next week’s Upper Keys Weekly.