From the #deltadentalARFoundation: It’s just after lunch on this June day when dark clouds are moving in and gusty winds are threatening to upend the pop-up tent. But the dozen teenagers and their counselors don’t pay any attention.

They have set up the tent as an outdoor classroom on the parking lot just outside Carter’s Crew in West Little Rock to learn all about healthy smiles.

Right now, they are not necessarily smiling but rather frowning in concentration as they observe what’s happening to boiled eggs submerged in coke. Not much to see yet, but over several days, the egg shells are expected to change color and become porous, just like tooth enamel damaged by acids from bacteria.

The simulation is part of an oral health and hygiene course, funded by a #communitygrant from the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation. Through the end of the year, the middle and high school students enrolled in Carter’s Crew “UN-Repeating the Cycle” program will participate in biweekly educational sessions on proper brushing and flossing techniques, good nutrition and the importance of preventive dental visits. They will also receive dental hygiene kits to take home and oral health information for their parents. 

Founded by Amber Govan in 2018 in Jacksonville, Carter’s Crew offers after-school and summer intervention programs to youth ages 12-17 at risk for gang involvement. The offerings include life skills training, counseling, tutoring, resources and even field trips in a safe and focused environment. A second Carter’s Crew location opened in Little Rock this spring.

But back to the tent.

The kids show engagement and honesty as the conversation turns to flossing. Who flosses every day? the presenter asks. Only a couple lift their hands. 

Why the resistance to flossing?

“It hurts.” “It makes my gums bleed.” “It’s unpleasant.” 

They don’t look quite convinced when the presenter encourages them to keep flossing because their gums will get used to it and stop hurting. But then they nod. And smile. Yes, they’ll try again.

We love it when oral health education results in smiles. What is your organization doing to bring healthy smiles to Arkansans? 

Maybe we can help with grant funding. Find out more here.

Carter's Crew Community Grant Description

workshop 1, Carter's Crew

Carter's Crew hosts an oral health workshop

Carter's Crew