Tooth Fairy leaves $225M under Pillows each year

By Alison Majikes/Special to Benco Dental

I don’t know about you, but back when I was a kid, when I lost a tooth I got 50 cents under my pillow the next morning, a dollar if I was lucky…but my, how times have changed.

These days, the tooth fairy is hard at work shelling out top-dollar for all the baby teeth gracing pillows every day across the globe.

A recent survey by oral healthcare company Sunstar Gum found that money parents shell out nationwide is on the increase.

But according to Yahoo parenting, the exact dollar amount varies by region, with NYC parents giving the highest payout, averaging $13.25 for every baby tooth lost.

The company surveyed 1,000 families earlier this month (by the way, today, February 28, is National Tooth Fairy Day!) that focused on five cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Dallas/Houston.

Boston clocked in with the lowest per tooth payout out of the five cities surveyed, with an average of $5.02 per pearly white.

While Los Angeles and New York parents may dole seemingly inflated amounts, Yahoo Parenting found that most parents across the country give their children between $1 and $5 when their children’s tooth falls out.

According to an article by, during an informal Facebook survey on the matter, parents around the country recalled their own days as gap-toothed children, receiving quarters from the Tooth Fairy. In 2014, parents paid an average of $4.36 for each tooth lost, up 25% from the 2013 average of $3.50.

So, if you’re a parent to a little one these days, you might want to start saving up for all those teeth they’re going to lose. Kids are expecting a bigger payout every year!

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Two days to join a texting challenge for Kids’ Healthy Mouths.

To coincide with National Children’s Dental Health Month, the Ad Council and The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives are extending their successful Kids’ Healthy Mouthscampaign to encourage children to brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day. Throughout February, the campaign announced the winners of a national video contest (one shown above). They also introduced a new SMS texting challenge (it takes less than a minute to sign up) and new characters for their popular mobile app, Toothsavers.

  • Toothsavers App Update: The widely popular mobile app Toothsavers got an update this month with three new characters (Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, and Rabbit). The new characters were announced on Kids’ Healthy Mouths social channels. Since its launch, more than 68,400 people have downloaded the app.
  • Texting Program Challenge:  Kids’ Healthy Mouths invites parents to join their free texting program which further supports the campaign’s main goal of encouraging parents to make sure their children brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day. Texters can take part in a five-day family brushing challenge this month, and will also receive personalized tips and support. Text TOOTH to 97779 to join.

In December, the Ad Council kicked off its first ever video contest with Zooppa, the world’s leading crowd sourced marketing platform for producing creative content. The Kids’ Healthy Mouths contest called on Zooppa’s community of over 27,000 amateur and professional video makers to leverage the existing campaign strategy to create their own videos showing parents trying to give important advice in just two minutes. The final videos were reviewed by creative directors at ad agency Grey New York and the Ad Council.

The Ad Council is pleased to announce the following videos as contest winners:
Eyes on the Ball (Sam Benenati), How To Weed The Garden (Joseph Binetti), Mime (Jason Kraynek), Birds and Bees (Jason Kraynek), Children’s Oral Health Career (Sean Tracy), Big Boy Time (Justin Pinder) and Sharing (Terrence Jones) with Let’s Change the Oil (Cynthia Bravo) and The Talk (Allen Baldwin) as early entry winners.

Created pro bono by Grey New York, the Kids’ Healthy Mouths PSAs stress that while most parenting is difficult to do in two minutes, such as learning how to cook or ride a bike, making sure kids brush for two minutes, twice a day is something a little simpler. The contest winners capture the spirit of the original PSAs and feature a lighthearted look at parenting today. The videos were highlighted on the Kids Healthy Mouths social pages throughout the month of February.

“This contest and our Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign celebrate the dedication of parents,” said Ad Council CEO and President Lisa Sherman. “This is one of our most successful campaigns because the message is simple and succinct, and the creative strategy is compelling and fun – while parenting can be challenging, this simple daily task is a bit easier.”


Kids need oral healthcare yearround

February is Dental Health month, but the Benco Dental Clinic helps service the community all year long.

According to, Luzerne County Community College’s Benco Dental Clinic in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania is a state-of-the art facility where, through the year, patients can visit for an intra- and extra- oral exam. This includes: oral cancer, blood pressure screening, and a complete tooth cleaning.

Students provide desensitization procedures such as:

  • Application of agents designed to reduce tooth sensitivity associated with gum recession
  • Digital X-rays, which use less radiation, are taken based upon patient need
  • Topical fluoride treatments that help strengthen teeth and prevent dental decay
  • Maintain oral health with toothbrushes, etc.

Members of the community are charged the minimal fees of $5 for children, $15 for adults and $10 for senior citizens. This service can be especially helpful to those without dental insurance.

On Saturday, March 28, the Luzerne County Community College Benco Dental Clinic will host the annual Kids’ Cavity Prevention Day, from 9 a.m. to noon. The program is for children ages three to 16, and will include dental exams, sealants, dental X-rays, oral hygiene instruction, and fluoride treatments. All services and activities are free of charge. Table clinics will be on display providing dental health information for parents and children.

From 9 a.m. to noon on April 11, the clinic will host an oral head and neck cancer screening in conjunction with the Head and Neck Alliance. Oral, head and neck cancer refers to many types of cancers but includes those that arise in the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, thyroid glands, salivary glands, throat or larynx (voice box). The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 121,790 new cases of cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, throat and thyroid, and 14,240 deaths from these cancers in 2015. Cancers of the oropharynx (tonsil and base of tongue) are increasing in incidence, particularly in younger non-smokers, and these cancers alone will account for over 40,000 cases per year in the U.S.

To learn more about this events, visit:

Giving new meaning to the term ‘cosmetic dentist’

By Kristie Ceruti/Incisal Edge Associate Editor

Patient evaluation, careful veneer placement . . . Mercedes-Benz modeling shoot? It’s all in a day’s work for Dr. Prabidhi Adhikari, who fixes teeth at Artistic Dental in Phoenix, Arizona and is a Ford model in her spare time.

Now 31 years old, Dr. Adhikari, who will be awarded her FAGD this year, signed with the Ford Modeling Agency (now Ford Models) when she was 19, the same year she entered New York University’s College of Dentistry.

The dual responsibilities, although offbeat, made sense: “With intense academic demands and a full-time schedule, modeling was an excellent way to make money while investing only a small amount of time,” she says.

View a photo of her  in a makeup ad for Stila, and read the full story at :

kristie web

When she’s not Molar Muse for Kristie Ceruti serves as Associate Editor for Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine. Her writing ranges into every imaginable corner of the dental profession.

Stem cells from extracted teeth help corneal blindness research

By Kelsi Matylewicz/Social Media Intern, Benco Dental

A team at The University of Pittsburgh conducted a study to investigate whether stem cells from human teeth can potentially be used to restore sight in those suffering from corneal blindness.

The results: promising news for those with impaired vision.

Cornea blindness occurs when the cornea is damaged after an external object has penetrated the tissue (even a poke in the eye). Bacteria or fungi from a contaminated contact lens can pass into the cornea also damaging it. These infections can lead to irreversible corneal scarring, which can impair vision and may require a corneal transplant. Most treatments are to graft a new cornea using the tissue from a cadaver, but donors are in shortage. The current failure rate of corneal grafts is about 38 percent after 10 years, primarily due to tissue rejection.

The University of Pittsburgh team, led by James L. Funderburgh, Ph.D., and Fatima Syed-Picard, Ph.D., both in the Department of Ophthalmology, decided to focus on adult dental pulp stem cells (DPSC) as a possible solution. They did this by conducting a study on mice, according to STEM CELLS Translational Medicine.

Stem cells were gathered from teeth extracted during routine dental procedures.

“If we could generate an engineered cornea using autologous cells, which are the patient’s own cells, and then use that to replace scarred tissue, we could bypass the limitations of current treatments,” Dr. Funderburgh said.

According to Stem Cells Portal, their final task was to evaluate how DPSC-generated corneal cells, or “keratocytes” would perform by labelling them with a dye (for tracking purposes) and then injecting them into the right eyes of mice. The left eye of each animal was injected with medium only, as a control.

When they tested the mice’s eyes five weeks later, they found that the DPSC-generated keratocytes had remained in the corneas and behaved similar to natural keratocytes. Their corneas were clear, and there were no signs of rejection — promising data for the team.

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