Students brush up on #oralhealth (via @thedailyjournal)

18 Dec

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When 6-year-old Layla Narzikulov brushes her teeth from now on, she will heed the helpful advice she and her classmates learned Wednesday during an oral health presentation at Rieck Avenue Elementary School.

About 100 students crowded into the school’s cafeteria early Wednesday morning to hear experts talk about the importance of proper dental techniques.

The short seminar left Layla with a greater awareness of just how importatn it is to brush — and floss — teeth regularly and properly.

“Brushing your teeth is important,” the first-grader said after the presentation. “If you don’t have any teeth, you can’t eat treats.”

That was largely the lesson Wednesday when oral health educator Diana Gatens led the students through a presentation tailored specifically for children.

Gatens, who travels to one elementary school in each county on a state Department of Health grant as part of the Project Brush initiative, used dental-themed teddy bears and a short cartoon to get the message of proper oral health across to the students.

“Parents, because of busy lifestyles, often leave it up to the child to brush their teeth,” Gatens said. “If parents don’t check up on them, chances are they believe them when they say the brushed their teeth.”

At the start of the presentation, Gatens put that observation to the test, asking students if they brushed their teeth by themselves or with their parents.

About 80 percent of the group said they brushed alone. And roughly half raised their hands when asked if they had cavities.

“This time of year we need to pay special attention to our teeth,” Gatens said.

Tips on better oral care included brushing for a full two minutes, including both the insides of teeth and outside.

“Just brushing the inside but not the outside is like washing one arm and not the other,” Gatens told the group.

“Ewwwww,” they replied.

A demonstration on harmful foods — those with high amounts of sugar — helped the kids to remember that items like soda can badly damage enamel and lead to tooth decay.

“There’s a lot of bad foods for your teeth,” Gatens said, pointing to soda. “That’s like a super fast way to get cavities in your teeth.”

Her solution: “Drink more water.”

One thing that will help the students get started on taking better care of their chompers will be the gift bags they bring home with them.

Featuring a timer, toothbrush, stickers and other goodies, kids will have more incentive to pay attention to their oral health.

First-grader Bailey Brown said he was excited to give his teeth a full two-minute cleaning.

“I don’t want to miss any spots,” the 7-year-old said. “Cause if I do I’ll get cavities.”

Melissa Mazzola, a teacher’s aide at the school, said she thought the seminar was informative and valuable for her students.

“It’s definitely important for them to learn to take care of their teeth,” she said. “Hopefully it will stick with them.”

Source: http://www.thedailyjournal.com/story/news/local/2014/12/17/students-brush-oral-health/20547731/

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