“You have to brush your teeth or you will get holes in your teeth.”
These wise words are from a local preschooler. From a very young age, kids love to give their input, even when the talk is all about teeth. Alameda Pediatric Dentistry’s Amanda Porter hears enthusiastic feedback from kids all the time when she visits them in the classroom.
During February’s Dental Health Month, Amanda and other staff from our Alameda and Pleasanton offices completed dozens of Tooth Fairy Island presentations for schools in the community, teaching kids about oral hygiene, healthy snacks, and why it’s important to visit the dentist.
“The kids get very excited and interested in learning about the oral cavity,” Amanda says.
By the end of a presentation, shouts of “I want to be a dentist” make the positive response to oral hygiene education very clear. These kids definitely won’t be afraid to sit in the dentist’s chair – in fact, they look forward to their next visit and will probably play dentist at home before that time comes.
Tooth Fairy Island is so successful because educational concepts are presented as games, and kids are invited to volunteer throughout the 20-minute presentations. Amanda says some of the interactive activities she incorporates include dressing up as a dentist, pinpointing the difference between healthy and unhealthy snacks, and flossing and brushing demonstrations.
“The most favorite is the ‘toothfriendly’ snacks game. It’s a way to teach the kids that processed white sugar snacks stick to the teeth. Naturally sweet fruits and veggies are better snack choices. The unhealthy snacks stick to a magnetic board and the healthy foods do not,” Amanda says. “But the kids love the whole presentation! After each demo, they say ‘What’s next?’”
Heads up to parents, your kids are onto you! Our Tooth Fairy Island presenters also report getting lots of comments about parents eating and drinking lots of sugary foods.
“My dad drinks lots of soda” and “My dad eats lots of donuts” are just two examples of what children notice at home. “My daddy has two crowns,” is another comment Amanda has heard. We’re guessing that’s got something to do with donuts and soda. Luckily, kids are sent home with educational brochures to show mom and dad.
Our staff’s volunteer efforts with Tooth Fairy Island presentations occur throughout the whole year, not just during February’s Dental Health Month. Get in on the dental cheer and spread the word to your child’s school!