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Dental Health Education Grades K – 5

Jane C. White, RDH, BS


Introduction I.

Program Development Cycle

II. Characteristics of Children III. Age Appropriate Dental Health Ed IV. Learning Activities & Visual Aids


Program Development Cycle


Needs Assessment Primary data is collected 1st hand  Teacher Demographics Current knowledge & attitudes Self Care habits

Secondary data is already available  City Hall and State Websites Community water fluoridation Ongoing public health services & programs Dental resources


Diagnosis & Planning Diagnosis: Analyze assessment needs & determine priorities. • must be based on interests and abilities of the children Planning: 1. Develop Educational Goal ~Identify the purpose of your talk in a single statement 2. Instructional Objectives ~What do you want the students to know or be able to do 3. Select appropriate activities, visual aids and handouts 4. Organize your presentation: introduction, body, conclusion 5. Practice your presentationď Š


Characteristics of Children 4–5 1. 2. 3. 4.

Interested in themselves and now Development of motor skills is not even Beginning of time orientation Imitates adult activities and attitudes

5. Listens attentively to short stories & enjoys jingles 6. Ready to learn simple hygiene; takes pride in clean hands/face 7. Understands food contributes to growth and health 8. Interest in posture and growing straight and tall 9. Doctors and Dentists are friendly helpers 10. Regular Dental visits have begun & all primary teeth by age 3


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Daily care of teeth Correct brushing of teeth Use of own toothbrush Friendliness toward dentist Dental tools and equipment Importance of regular dental visits


Tooth-Brushing Song Brush, Brush, Brush Your Teeth Brush Them Every Day In the Morning and at Night Keeps your Smile Bright Song is sung to the melody of “Row Row Row your Boat”


Characteristics of Children 6–9 1. 2. 3. 4.

Daring & Adventurous! Accident Prone Sensitive to ridicule Definite ideas of right and wrong conduct Concerns for own health: help them understand their fears with knowledge 5. Highly susceptible to respiratory infections 6. Knows what germs are & how they are spread 7. Follows hygienic practices 8. Shedding of primary teeth begins at age 5 - 6 9. Six year molars appear behind last primary tooth 10. Central incisors appear about age 6 - 7


1. Daily Care of Teeth: correct brushing 2. Taking a drink of water after eating 3. The importance of the six-year molar 4. Choice of wholesome lunch and snacks 5. Importance of primary and permanent teeth • appearance, speech and chewing 6. Awareness of effects of pressure habits • resting face on hands and thumb or finger sucking 7. Foods for building teeth: importance of milk


Simple Experiments Marshmallow /Apple Experiment: snacks Cut marshmallow with a sharp knife. Notice how sticky the knife becomes. Cut apple with a sharp knife. Notice that the apple does not stick to the knife. Point out the reasons for avoiding sticky sweets between meals. Supplies: marshmallows, apples, sharp knife.

Egg Experiment: plaque Place hard-boiled egg in dark colored soda for a day. Take egg out and show how stained and yellowish it looks. Give the child a toothbrush with a little paste on it. Let them brush the “yellow plaque� off the egg. Point out the reason for brushing 2x a day. Supplies: eggs, Pepsi, toothbrush and paste.


1. Daily Care of teeth: correct brushing and flossing 2. Consumption of foods, such as apples, carrots, and celery for “cleansing” teeth 3. Foods for building teeth 4. Harmful effects of sweets and sugary beverages 5. Avoidance of injuries to the teeth 6. Information concerning outer structure of the teeth; • crown, neck, root, enamel, cementum 7. Importance of taking care of gums


Characteristics of Children 10 - 12 1. Beginning of a transitional period: puberty. 2.

Growth spurts, plateaus and feeling awkward.

3. Often a period of dental neglect. 4. May attempt to use diet to assert independence. 5. Capable of taking responsibility for personal grooming. 6. Shedding of primary & eruption of permanent teeth . 7. Orthodontic interventions may begin to improve appearance and prevent decay.


1.Daily care of teeth: correct brushing and flossing 2.Taking responsibility for care of teeth and gums 3.Kinds and functions of teeth 4.Inner structure of teeth; dentin, pulp, nerves & blood vessels 5.Causes of decay and prevention of decay 6.Causes of infections in the mouth; bleeding gums 7.Value of dental x-rays 8.Relationship between dental health and personality


Learning Activity Story telling • Effective for preschool and early elementary grades. • Increases child’s awareness of ideas, attitudes and behaviors.

Puppets • Children naturally have the spirit of play, the power to identify, and the desire to communicate. • Puppets give free rein to thought and expression .

Skits and Plays • •

Effective for older elementary and middle school students. Requires preparation and focus on learning concepts.


Learning Activity The more personal a learning activity is, the more a learner will get out of the experience An excellent teaching device is a small hand mirror in the hands of a learner. The Mirror lets them see, feel, touch and identify structures in their own mouth.


Helpful Hints 1. Be genuinely interested & enthusiastic! 1. Keep visual aids and handouts concealed. 2. Minimize distance between you & the children. 3. Get their attention by standing quietly. 4. In a noisy room do not raise your voice; lower it. 5. Answer the children’s questions. ~ keep control by having them raise their hands. 1. Be time conscious; ~ young children can concentrate only about 15 min.


Practices to Avoid 1. Herding large groups into the auditorium or gym 2. Use of morbid or fearful subject matter 3. Using a child as an example of a defect 4. Causing a child to feel humiliated 5. Competition between students


Additional Resources • American Dental Association website: – Smile Smarts Oral Health Curriculum • Department of Human Services: – Public Health Division / Dental Health Coordinator • American Dental Hygiene Association • Library books and used book stores • World Wide Web – http://www.education-world.com


Implementation & Evaluation Implementation: Provide education Evaluation: •Attainment of goals and objectives •Cost effectiveness •Appropriateness of activities •Community satisfaction •Summative / outcome evaluation


Sample Evaluation Questions 1. Was the presentation appropriate for interest and grade level? 2. Was the length appropriate?

Too long?

Too short?

3. Were your students interested in the material? 4. What follow-up activities did you do? 5. Did the presentation repeat material you had already covered? 6. Were the visual aids helpful? 7. Would you ask for the program again? 8. What comments did the students make about the program?


Documentation Record Keeping 1. 2. 3. 4.

Date School Name Location (directions) Contact Information: *Principal & Teacher 5. Classroom / Grade level 6. Dental Health Topic (s)

Reporting I. Funding Agencies: • The Dentist • Public Health Dept. II. Stakeholders: • The Dentist • Dental Office Staff • Teacher, Students • Parents


Summary As Dental Hygienist, we are committed to promoting health and preventing disease. As such, dental hygienists are often called upon to provide dental health education to various community groups including elementary school children. An effective & successful dental health presentation can be completed by using the program development cycle. Understanding the characteristics of elementary children is an important part of preparing age appropriate dental health instruction.


References • Dearth, F. (1974). Construction and utilization of visual aids in dental health education. Thorofare, NJ: Charles B. Slack, Inc. • http://amyrdh.com/ • http://www.ada.org/public/education/teachers/smilesmarts/ind ex.asp • http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/index.html • http://www.daniellesplace.com/HTML/puppets.html • http://www.mypyramid.gov/kids/index.html • Mason, J. (2005). Concepts in dental public health. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Dental Health Education