The Tooth Fairy Children’s Foundation raises awareness on the importance of good oral hygiene

The Tooth Fairy Children’s Foundation held its 5th annual charity gala on Oct. 25, at Calgary’s downtown Westin Hotels & Resorts.

This gala offered many things for auction such as paintings, gift baskets, even a trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida, all to raise funds for a goal to put 300,000 toothbrushes into the hands of children in need.

CoraMarie Clark, a former dental hygienist, is the founder of the Tooth Fairy Children’s Foundation.

Clark remembers reading about children dying from a tooth going bad.

“When I found out children had died from a tooth going bad, I remember weeping and thinking ‘I have to do something to change this,’” Clark says.CoraMarie Clark with two supporters at the Tooth Fairy Children’s Foundation gala, held Thursday, Oct. 25.

Photo by Jasmine Han

Clark founded the charity five years ago, and saw success last year, as representatives of the organization traveled to over 30 countries and put 100,000 toothbrushes into the hands of kids in need.

In order to help children learn the importance of brushing their teeth, Clark dresses up as ‘Toothena’ the tooth fairy, as she finds most children are enamored and are less likely to forget the important message when it’s delivered by a memorable character.

“Even if a kid has a toothbrush and they’re not excited about using it, their teeth might not be as clean as they could be,” Clark says.

Clark says that poverty is the biggest factor on why these children in third world countries don’t own toothbrushes. This leads to bad health overall.

“If you have a bad tooth it can impact your whole life and make you more susceptible to other diseases as well,” Clark says.

Where is the money going?

• Purchase toothbrushes
• Transporting toothbrushes to where they are needed
• Education of teaching children how to brush their teeth

“If a tooth goes bad and the bacteria goes into the blood stream, it doesn’t take long until it goes to your brain. Once it’s at a certain point it’s almost impossible to turn it around,” Clark says.

Doctor Craig Young, a local dentist and board member for the Tooth Fairy Children’s Foundation, has been with the foundation from the start.

Young comments from a local perspective of why people might not go to the dentist, even when they can afford it and when it’s readily available.

“People take medication for granted and that someone will always fix them, rather than looking at it from a preventive standpoint,” Young says.

Barry McQuay, an accountant for the Tooth Fairy Children’s Foundation says, “In many cases you’ll go to a place where there’s one, two, or maybe three tooth brushes shared by an entire family or a group of people.”

jhan@cjournal.ca