Tufts Predoctoral Dental students, along with a couple of PG pedo residents, and a faculty member, conducted a dental education event at the Josiah Quincy School. The pedo residents gave a brief PowerPoint presentation on the basics of how many teeth we have, what comprises a tooth, what causes cavities, what foods to eat and not eat, as well as brushing and flossing methods. After the presentation, they played an exciting dental cartoon from www.dentalcare.com for the kids; then, the elementary school students received a lunchbox. The children were very happy, opening the lunchbox and exploring its contents, which contained dental health products and dental education literature. Please take a moment to see the photos posted that were taken from the event.
The goal of the event was to complete the “lessons in a lunch box program,” to children in first through third grades. It consisted of different learning modules to promote health literacy and disease prevention through the use of a lunchbox, containing a toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste, which was stored in a carrot-shaped case with a rinsing cup at the top of the carrot. Instructional labels throughout the box illustrate and remind children how to brush and floss properly, as well as to help depict what foods they should be consuming, utilizing information from www.choosemyplate.gov. The purpose of the dental event, which utilized a lunchbox as an educational prop, was to encourage young students to “See yourself becoming a dentist, a dental hygienist, a dental assistant or a dental technician,” promoting a career in the dental field.
Micheline Moini, D18 reflects on her experience:
This was an amazing opportunity for me to explore the field of pedodontics and see what it is like to work with children in the dental field. Not only did I get to work with and interact with students in grades one to three, but I also had an opportunity to work with young children, who require our special care, since they represent the future generation. It was truly remarkable to see how excited all these young students were after the presentation! At the end of the presentation, this question was asked: How many of you want to become dentists?” Close to one-half of the auditorium raised their hands! As part of the final step in the program, teachers encourage the children to write thank you cards, expressing how they felt about the presentation after they received their new lunchbox and carrot-case dental kit. Upon seeing and reading the thank you cards, my heart melted at their artwork and creativity.
Through this experience, I learned more about health literacy with the younger population and how to better capture their attention. I believe that since presenting this program, those children have benefited, including family members or friends. When they bring their lunchbox home, household members see it and ask questions about what it is. What better way for children to educate their elders then to have them talk about it themselves and promote oral hygiene and food choices to others! My participation in this event has reminded me of how rewarding it is to put a smile on someone’s face, no matter the age, while doing something I love and enjoy, which is learning and teaching others about dental health.