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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 1, 2010

Kids learn the fun of good teeth care

By John Windrow
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Trisha Wakumoto, her husband, Randall Wakumoto, and their daughters, Rylie, 4, and Jordyn, 6, are greeted by the Tooth Fairy, aka Stacie Lee, 17, of Moanalua, at the HDS Tooth Fairy Fun Day at the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center in Kakaako. The event was part of Children’s Dental Health Month.

Photos by REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Freddy Imahara, 2, got his teeth examined by his dad, Calvin Imahara, of Pälolo Valley, at the Plaque Challenge booth at the HDS Tooth Fairy Fun Day yesterday.

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Natalia Todd, 2, thought a big, beautiful butterfly was telling her to be sure to brush and floss yesterday, but it was Stacie Lee, 17, aka the Tooth Fairy.

The Hawaii Baptist Academy senior was dolled up in a gorgeous periwinkle ensemble — including tiara, wand and wings — handing out floss sticks to all the kids attending the Sixth Annual HDS Tooth Fairy Fun Day yesterday at the Hawai'i Children's Discovery Center in Kaka'ako.

"Natalia thinks she's a butterfly because of the big wings," said her mother, Diane.

Lee said the event, which Hawai'i Dental Service organizers said was expected to draw about 1,000 people, was to "educate kids about taking care of their teeth. There's all kinds of fun things for them to do to learn about it."

Natalia has perfect lifelong attendance at the event, having also taken it in last year.

"We love the Discovery Center," Diane said. "It's great way for kids to learn about taking care of their teeth. It makes it fun to learn."

Loretta Yajima, Discovery Center president, said fun is the key. "We want to make it fun for kids to learn about dental care," she said, "in a way that's not scary like going to the dentist."

So kids sat on oversized molars inside a giant red mouth, watching toothsome videos about fending off bad, old Mr. Tooth Decay. They played a fishing game and won prizes for answering questions about dental care.

One of the lucky winners was Michelle Yim, 9, who scored a toothbrush and other treats. Not only that, she got to wander through an exhibit that showed how the stomach operates.

"It's fun to be in a big stomach," said Michelle. "You learn a lot of stuff."

She attended with her dad, Bryan.

George Matsui, 5, learned about how the foot bone's connected to the ankle bone, etc., from an exhibit of a skeleton riding a bicycle.

Then George, who was described by his mother Jeanie as "creative and silly," displayed his mastery of a Mr. Bones game by assembling a large skeleton upside down. "He always does it his own way," his mom said.

There was also face painting; exhibits about the human heart; going to the bank; the post office; even how courts work.

But the major emphasis was on healthy chewing, chomping and chowing down.

HDS president and CEO Faye Kurren said fluoridated water would help if Hawai'i wants to improve its poor rating in children's oral health. Also, she said, people need to increase their awareness of dental health and regular care. She said it's important that a child start "brushing and flossing as soon as children's teeth appear."

For more information on dental health, see www.deltadentalhi.org.