Sterling Heights

Youth filling a gap in dental education: Q&A with Teeth4Tots founder Fadie Arabo

When Fadie Arabo watched his father go through a full teeth extraction, he realized there was a deficit in his family's dental health education, and wanted to make sure no one else had to go through the process unnecessarily. So he did something about it. The young Sterling Heights resident started an education initiative in March last year called Teeth4Tots, aimed at better connecting children with oral hygiene. 

Since then, nearly 100 volunteers from around the U.S. have joined the nonprofit program, which hosts online events, outreach programs to South America, and has garnered attention from the Michigan Dental Review Journal. The group uses social media, art, and science projects to raise awareness, and plan to release an e-book in April. Arabo shares his motivations, and challenges, with Metromode.

Fadie Arabo's nonprofit initiative, Teeth4Tots, supplies resources to dentists to help engage with young children. Metromode: How does the Teeth4Tots volunteer program work?

Arabo: Prospective volunteers fill out a google form found in the link of our Instagram bio, @Teeth4Tots. From there, they get a greeting message and are assigned a task. For instance, a volunteer may receive a task to create art outlining the specifics of periodontal disease and its effect if left untreated. We also host monthly events, which we have been doing quite often now.

How does your Dental Boxes initiative operate?

Dental Boxes are a way to show our appreciation to dentists. Anyone interested creates a sturdy cardboard box in the shape of a tooth and designs it with things inside. For instance, I created a dental box with note sheets inside outline why it is so important for young children to brush their teeth. The dentist that receives this box can, in turn, give out the note sheets to his or her patients.

What's been the biggest challenge for you developing this nonprofit?
          
I would say the biggest challenge creating this venture thus far has been registering the origins action as an official 501-c-3. We know it is a long, but very rewarding, thing at the same time. 

What kind of reaction have you had to the project so far? 

The projects have gained much positive response. We are always tagged by the dental clinics we deliver art to and are proud of this. Volunteers, participants, and partners have responded likewise. We have an eager team always wanting to do more to inspire our youth.

What's the next step for your initiative?

The next step for Teeth4Tots is partnership. We are currently finding local partners to expand our mission and get our name out there. Additionally, an e-book which I have been working on should be complete in the coming months, "Terry Talks to the Tooth Fairy".

What's one moment that inspired you in this journey?

The one moment that reassured me that I was on the right track on this project is what I want to be doing is when we were featured in the journal of the Oakland County Dental Society. This moment reassured us that we would gain more in the dental community and really helped me hone in on dentistry.

Read more articles by Kate Roff.

Kate Roff is an award-winning freelance writer and journalism educator, currently based out of Detroit. She is the managing editor of Metromode and Model D. Contact her at kroff@issuemediagroup.com
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