Bakersfield Dental Assisting Students Awe Kindergarteners
What is the best way to get rambunctious 5-year-olds to pay attention to something that helps them care for their teeth? Animals! Big, toothy, plush animals…who just happen to looooove having their teeth brushed and flossed.
Recently Kimberly Rosalez, Dental Assisting Program Director at the Bakersfield campus, arranged for four Dental Assisting students and instructor Stacy Everett to visit Stockdale Elementary School to help educate 27 young transitional kindergarteners about proper oral hygiene.
“They had a lot of energy and from beginning to end they were such a fun audience,” says Kim Rosalez, whose daughter Gabrielle was in the class.
Dental Assisting program students and presenters that day were: Christina Meza, Priscilla Martin, Erika Ross and Yomira Ferreira. Each had a part in the day’s education mission. Children were given instruction on proper tooth brushing and flossing, as well as information on how frequently to see their dentist.
“Seeing Dental students interact with the t-k’ers gives a glimpse of how good they will be with patients later on,” says Stacy Everett.
Eager little voices were happy to divulge their own diligent habits and experiences. “One said she brushed 500 times a day!” Kim laughs. What they missed in accuracy they made up for in enthusiasm.
The highlight of their instruction had to be when they demonstrated brushing and flossing techniques on those big, huggy animals. Little hands couldn’t wait to give it a try, using an oversized toothbrush and yarn for floss.
“They were listening to everything we had to say, soaking it up like little sponges,” says Kim. “Early intervention is important, and helping them to start good habits at an early age will benefit them in the long run.”
Each little student received a dental hygiene kit that included a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste and a timer to encourage giving that important brush job a full two minutes. “It’s nice to give them these things that are so beneficial to them and reinforces the lessons we are giving them,” says Kim.
The Dental Assisting club on the Bakersfield campus conducts a lot of fundraisers and dress-down days to raise money for the oral hygiene kits they give away at these kinds of presentations and events. Right now they spend about $140 for supplies they take to each classroom. Their next goal is to raise enough money to buy their own brushing-and-flossing demonstration animal puppets.
The next time you see your Dental Assisting club students selling cookies or tacos or candy-grams, help them out. It might result in a sweet, clean smile somewhere.
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