The University of Minnesota Pediatric Dental Clinic welcomed 90 third-grade students from Adams Elementary School, Coon Rapids, March 1 to shed some light on oral health and hygiene.
Dental team leaders, including five pediatric dental residents from the University’s School of Dentistry’s advanced specialty education program in pediatric dentistry and six dental assistants, helped the enthusiastic third-graders brush up on their oral health knowledge.
Interactive demonstrations and games such as the American Dental Association’s “To Tell the Tooth” were used as educational tools.
“As a dental team, our goal was to provide an environment for the students to participate in the science of dentistry, identify how they can impact their oral health and provide meaningful illustrations for the students,” said Susan Howe, event organizer and clinic manager.
Howe stressed the importance of oral health care at an early age and pointed out there are many habits that can be damaging if not managed and understood.
The negative effects of drinking sugary beverages, frequent snacking and consuming sticky sugar-containing foods and candies were highlighted by using rotting apples as a demonstration tool; dental team leaders showed how tooth decay invades the tooth’s enamel, dentin and pulp layers.
Further oral health areas discussed included brushing, flossing, fluoride use and dental sealants.
Adams students learned the importance of dental sealants, which prevent bacteria and acids in the mouth from getting into pits and grooves of molar teeth unreachable by a toothbrush.
To simulate the placement of dental sealants, the third-graders brushed water-based paint into the pits and grooves of molars on dental stone models.
According to Adams third-grade teacher Kelly Wierman, the activities at the event were engaging, hands on and student centered.
“The doctors’ enthusiasm kept students engaged from the start,” Wierman said. “I am confident that the oral health knowledge gained by our students will be beneficial for years to come.”
The University of Minnesota Pediatric Dental Clinic, made possible by Delta Dental of Minnesota, is committed to providing a dental home for children of all ages including those with complex medical conditions, physical and developmental disabilities and craniofacial differences.
Most health plans (including the Minnesota state health plans) are accepted.
The clinic is located across the street from the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital in the Riverside Park Plaza Building. For appointments, call 612-659-4900.