Partners bring dental hygiene education program to elementary schools

Kool Smiles and Institute for America's Health join forces.

ATLANTA, Georgia--The oral health for many children across America has led Kool Smiles to partner with the Institute for America's Health to launch a dental education program in recognition of Children's Dental Health Month.

The program is designed for children in grades K-5, and includes free lesson plans and toothbrushes to teach students about good oral health.

"The Surgeon General has determined oral care to be the leading unmet need for children across America today, and tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease," said Dr. Polly Buckey, DDS, managing dental director at Kool Smiles, a provider of dental care in underserved communities nationwide.

"Kool Smiles' dentists take the time in office to educate our young patients and their parents about proper dental hygiene practices, so it made sense to take our practice into the classroom and assist teachers in talking with students about the importance of good oral health. Our curriculum aids educators on how to demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques and how to develop great oral health habits that will take them into adulthood."

IAH, a non-profit organization focused on advancing the health of the nation's youth through education, will team up with local Kool Smiles dentists to introduce the curriculum in K-5 partner schools across the nation as part of its ongoing WAY to a Healthier America initiative.

"The WHA program is designed to foster a culture of wellness in schools by giving teachers training and resources to create positive behavior change in key areas of health, such as nutrition and hygiene," said Stuart Reese, executive director of IAH.

"We are excited to work with Kool Smiles dentists to bring educational activities and toothbrushes to our partner schools and promote good oral health in our classrooms during National Children's Dental Health Month and beyond."

The K-5 lesson plans are available to all K-5 teachers and can be downloaded from the Kool Smiles website. Educators who download the lesson plans will receive free toothbrushes (one for each student in the classroom) to help students practice good oral hygiene.

"Many of our patients come to Kool Smiles never having been to a dentist, and lacking the knowledge of the proper techniques in basic dental hygiene practices, such as brushing and/or flossing," Dr. Buckey said.

"In some cases, patients do not have basic items like a toothbrush or toothpaste at home. Our goal is to equip teachers with all of the tools and resources they need to ensure kids not only understand how to take care of their teeth, but are also able to do so once they leave the classroom."

Each lesson plan is organized by grade level and includes age-appropriate curricula to facilitate a fun and interactive classroom environment. Activities range from coloring sheets and role playing for younger grades to discussion questions and quizzes for older students.

Kool Smiles has set aside 50,000 toothbrushes for teachers who use the curriculum. The toothbrush donation was made possible by Facebook users through a one-for-one campaign, where Kool Smiles offered a toothbrush for every Facebook "like" they received.

To download the lesson plans and receive dental kits for school or classroom, visit http://www.mykoolsmiles.com/dentallessonplans.

For more information, visit http://waytoahealthieramerica.org/.

To comment on this topic, go to http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com.

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