Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of developing good dental habits at an early age. 1 Teaching kids how to keep their smiles healthy is more important now than ever. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 16 million children suffer from untreated tooth decay in the U.S.2
In support of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the Carrington College Mesquite campus hosted “Dentalpalooza” on February 21. Local dentist, Dr. Grant Parish, worked with Carrington students and staff to offer complimentary dental screenings, access to health care services and tips on oral hygiene care to local Head Start children and their families.
Over 30 children received dental exams and instructions on proper dental hygiene and healthy eating habits. The children also received take-home hygiene kits containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, bubblegum flavored floss and a tooth sticker with tips for brushing your teeth.
This event allowed Carrington students to help their local community and gave them the opportunity to apply the skills they are learning in the classroom under the supervision of experts in the dental field. Dr. Grant Parish shared that he continues to devote time to Carrington events and projects because he, “really believes in the mission of the College and its dedication to serving the community, as well as producing well-trained dental assistants.”
Carrington students work closely with the community and dental professionals through working at the campus dental clinic or at a local clinic during their externship and enter the workforce with experience in working with patients. This experience in incredibly important when looking for employment in today’s job market. A survey by Adecco, a global human resources consulting company, found that 66 percent of hiring managers said they don’t think new college graduates are prepared for the workplace.3 Carrington’s Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene programs prepare students for their professional careers and encourage them serve their communities by promoting dental health.
“Students have a great opportunity to see and work with the doctors in action, dealing with cooperative—and sometimes not so cooperative—kids to learn helpful techniques to take into the field,” says Cindy Wood, Dental Program Director at Carrington’s Mesquite campus.
Participating in Dentalpalooza for National Children’s Dental Health Month is just one way Carrington dental students can promote good dental hygiene. Below are other ways you help promote dental health to children throughout the year.
Keep it simple
A recent study by British Dental Health Foundation found that the level of dental anxiety among parents and guardians was directly related to their level of knowledge about oral health.4The study found that this also had an effect on their child’s dental health. One reason people don’t know much about dental health is because explaining procedures or dental care tips may be a bit too technical. Whether you are working with an adult or a child, try to use language that is easy to understand and ask the patient to let you know if they need additional explanation.
Lead by example
The great work you do during your dental program at Carrington, and later as a dental professional, isn’t the only way for you to help promote good dental habits. You can also do your part to help those in your personal life5. Talk to your children, family members and friends about keeping healthy dental hygiene habits. Use dental care items, like fun toothbrushes or colorful floss, as stocking or gift stuffers. Let your friends and family members know that dental hygiene isn’t intimidating—and that it can even be fun!
1‘National Children’s Dental Health Month,’ American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/5578.aspx#resources
2 ‘ADA Uses Fluoride Toothpaste to Fight High Cavity Rate in Children,’ American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/en/press-room/news-releases/2014-archive/february/ada-uses-fluoride-toothpaste
3 ‘College Grads, Ready or Not? Employers Think Not,’ Workforce. http://www.workforce.com/articles/college-grads-ready-or-not-employers-think-not
4 ‘Low literacy levels ‘harming oral health,’ British Dental Health Foundation. http://www.dentalhealth.org/news/details/764
5 ‘Lead by example when teaching kid’s about dental hygiene,’ The Morning Journal, http://www.morningjournal.com/general-news/20120203/lead-by-example-when-teaching-kids-about-dental-hygiene