Oral hygiene made fun

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A dental assisting student shows Timmy the Explorer, a tooth who eats an apple at Travis Elementary in March 2008.  File photo

A dental assisting student shows Timmy the Explorer, a tooth who eats an apple at Travis Elementary in March 2008. File photo

Puppets and posters assist students in teaching proper brushing techniques.

By Edith Moctezuma


Students from DNTA 1245, Preventive Dentistry, went to 12 elementary schools and child-care centers to teach about 550 children ages 4-8 about dental care during Dental Health Month in February.

Dr. Stella Lovato, chair of allied health, said the 22 preventive dentistry students had to prepare their own lesson using their own techniques, such as puppets, books, slide presentations, posters and crafts.

Dental assisting sophomore Dimond Ray used a purple minion from the movie “Despicable Me” who ate sugar to illustrate bad habits and a regular minion who ate healthful foods to illustrate good habits.

Students showed the children how to brush their teeth and get proper nutrition, Lovato said.

The dental assisting students explained to children the danger of tooth decay if they do not brush their teeth.

They also stressed eating nutritious foods and avoiding sugar or brushing teeth after eating sugar to prevent decay, Lovato said.

Dental assisting sophomore Ruby Herrera said she taught children to brush and floss twice a day.

Sophomore Yasmeen Ramirez, demonstrated brushing teeth in a circular motion.

Students in this course have been doing this dental health community project for the last 20 years. The course is offered during the spring semester, which is perfect for Dental Health Month, she said.

“The idea of this project started because of a chapter in a book called Oral Health and Preventive Techniques, so the program decided to go to the community to help them,” Lovato said.

Lovato said this project helps students practice so when they start working they can teach their clients to take care of their teeth.

Students use their critical thinking skills to develop this project and present it, Lovato said.

Students also become more confident by being able to share what they learn in class and research, she said.

After each presentation, each child gets toothpaste and a tooth brush, Lovato said. These are donated by the company that supplies the dental program at this college.

She said the community likes students doing this type of project to help teach children good dental habits, she said.

Parents should teach their children the importance of taking care of their teeth and visiting the dentist so they start practicing good oral health at a young age, Lovato said.


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