PIQUA — As part of Children’s Dental Awareness Month, Traveling Smiles of the Miami County Dental Clinic put on a presentation for kindergarteners and first graders this week in Piqua City Schools.
They visited Washington Primary School on Wednesday, featuring coordinator Becky John as the Tooth Fairy and dental assistant Tina Lee as the Tooth Fairy’s assistant.
“We’re trying to teach them to make healthy choices,” John said.
John and Lee demonstrated good teeth-brushing techniques to the students.
“You should also brush your teeth twice a day. Once in the morning, and once right before you go to bed,” John said. “You pull your cheek back, and you start at the very back on your right, and you go up by the gum line, and you angle your toothbrush toward your gum, and go in little circles.”
“Circles are the best,” Lee said.
John emphasized the importance of also brushing their gums, as that is where bacteria can be. John and Lee also went over how to brush the insides of their mouths along with the bottom of their mouths.
They also told students that they should brush their teeth for at least two minutes each time they brush.
“If you can remember two times a day for two minutes, that’s awesome,” Lee said.
John and Lee then had two student helpers pass out pictures to students of different types of food. The students with the photos then stood up, and all of the students decided together if each of those foods were good for teeth or bad for teeth.
“Do you think candy would make your teeth sad?” Lee asked.
The students responded collectively with, “Sad.”
John said that while they do not have to avoid food high in sugar completely, they do need to remember to brush their teeth well after eating them in order to take care of their teeth.
“There are decisions you have to make,” John said. “You have to make sure you brush well.”
John also emphasized the importance of flossing to the students.
“You also have to floss … sometimes your toothbrush doesn’t get it all out,” John said. “A lot of cavities start between your teeth.”
John and Lee also gave the students a calendar to take home and make checkmarks each time they brush their teeth in the morning and at night before they go to bed.
The Piqua Rotary Club supported the presentation, donating toothbrushes and toothpaste to each of the students.
Principal Mindy Gearhardt explained how Miami County Dental Clinic works with Piqua City Schools to help them talk to younger students about taking care of their teeth.
“Part of their Dental Awareness Month is to make sure we are talking with our kindergartners and first graders about making sure they brush their teeth properly and dental awareness,” Gearhardt said. “Even at kindergarten screening, they have their teeth checked before they come to school, and the dentist is now here in the building and parents have the ability to, if they don’t have a dentist that regularly examines their child’s teeth … then they can have that done here.”
Traveling Smiles also provides dental care to children in Miami County who do not have access to a dentist, whether they are uninsured or on state-funded insurance. John and Lee explained that, after seeing kids on a regular basis and putting on these presentations for them, the decay rate for those children has gotten lower. The presentations and access to regular dental visits also helps children to not be afraid of going to the dentist.
Wednesday was a twofold event for the kindergarten students at Washington Primary School, as they were celebrating making it past the 100th day of school. Many of the students dressed up in what they thought a 100-year-old person would look like, and the teachers also did different activities with the students involving the number 100.
“They’re going to celebrate today in a bunch of different ways,” Gearhardt said.
Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336