Dental student demonstrates tooth brushing

Give Kids a Smile promotes proper dental hygiene

Blue dry erase marker on a plastic model of teeth provided a lesson in dental hygiene.     

“Brush each tooth for two minutes at a time. You don’t want bugs on your teeth,” said Sarah Long, a dental hygiene student from Augusta University’s College of Allied Health Sciences, as she instructed A. Brian Merry Elementary School students on proper toothbrushing techniques.

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The exercise was one of several hands-on activities with second and third graders at the school Feb. 3 as dental hygiene students took part in the Give Kids A Smile program during dental health month.

A. Brian Merry Elementary School students learned proper brushing techniques Feb. 3. Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

This is the first time the dental students have gone into a school with the activities which also included painting brown and yellow construction paper teeth white as well as an experiment using eggs to show how items such as coffee can stain teeth.

Prior to COVID, elementary school students went to the dental college, according to Kandyce A’see, associate professor of dental hygiene.

“We did a free cleaning and filled cavities,” she said.

Taking the elementary school students to the dental college wasn’t an option this year, so they looked for age-appropriate ways to promote the message of dental health.

“This is a way to crank it back up,” she said.

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February 2020 was the last time Augusta University participated in the Give Kids a Smile program.

The Give a Kid a Smile program launched in 2003 to provide underserved children free oral care. More than 300,000 children receive free oral health education, screenings and preventative or restorative treatments each year, according to a news release from Augusta University.

Brandy James, A. Brian Merry’s principal, said the school and students have benefitted from other collaborations with Augusta University, and she always welcomes the opportunity. Friday’s program was one that she believes helped bring home the importance of dental care.

“It was hands-on learning, not just sitting listening to a lecture,” she said.

Also, it goes along with the school’s motto of “It’s a great day to engage, develop and be merry.”

“Being Merry, she said, is focusing on positive choices that encourage self-care.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at Subscribe to the newsletter here.

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