Unless it’s during a visit to the dentist, people rarely volunteer details on their toothbrushing and flossing habits. Not the case with the 5-and-under crowd at Building Blocks Learning Center in Dallas. This summer, 26 students were more than willing to express their enthusiasm for dental hygiene, as well as love and admiration for the Benco Dental Tooth Fairy.
Resplendent in white attire with a glittering crown and wings, Pat Motyka, a tooth customer service specialist at the dental distributor’s home office in Pittston, entered a classroom at Building Blocks Learning Center on July 19.
While students were rushing to impress her with the frequency of their brushing and flossing routines, a particularly excited young girl raised her hand to tell the Tooth Fairy that she loved her. Two others, showered their special guest with compliments about her “sparkly wings” and the gifts she presented them before she took flight: a take-home package for each student complete with a dental kit, stickers and other surprises.
“They know she’s real, rather than just their imagination. Seeing the Tooth Fairy in their class makes them think, ‘Oh, I have to brush my teeth, I have to make sure they’re healthy.’ They know that when they lose a tooth it’ll be OK; she’ll visit and keep their teeth safe,” said Brittany Palma, a teacher at Building Blocks.
Students intently listened and watched as the Larksville-based Tooth Fairy spoke on the importance of brushing and flossing, read two stories about dental hygiene and distributed tooth-themed coloring sheets. Motyka offered students a hands-on experience by allowing them to brush the teeth of Finn, a plush shark puppet used for dental hygiene demonstrations. Students were able to practice proper technique with an oversized toothbrush.
Though new to the Tooth Fairy role, with just three classroom visits under her wings, Motyka brings 10 years of dental industry experience to her position at Benco Dental.
“Later that day, my coworker Dave Tosh (Benco fleet and logistics manager) emailed me. His daughter was one of the Building Blocks students, and he said she couldn’t wait to come home to tell him about my visit. That made me feel really good,” said Motyka.
Aside from adding a little sparkle to their day, she feels her visits make a difference to the students’ oral health.
“A lot of parents don’t tell their kids about dental health – I know mine didn’t. I think it’s important, because that’s the first thing you see when you talk to someone: their teeth. Benco was kind enough to donate tooth gel, toothbrushes and brushing charts for the dental kit,” she added.