Kindergartners learn to tackle "critters in the mouth," receive oral screening

More than 150 kindergartners received free dental screening Wednesday after they were encouraged to brush their teeth at least twice a day and remember to floss.

Dentists and staffers from South Texas Dental visited the Southwest Campus for an educational interactive presentation that demonstrated the importance of oral health.  And to drive home the point, they showed the children pictures of what germs, buildup and decay look like if they neglect to brush their teeth, gums and tongue.

The screening was the latest in a series of health tests initiated by The Varnett Public School. Earlier this year, students received hearing and vision screening, also conducted on campus by health care professionals.

The dental screening revealed whether teeth cleaning is necessary, suspicion of cavities, if immediate attention is recommended or if loose baby teeth need to be extracted. After the screening, Nurse Allen said “five or six students had extreme to-the-bone infection and severe cavities.” The results were documented to be sent home to parents for further attention, if necessary.

Joshua Moreno, South Texas Dental’s community relations director, noted how difficult it is to educate an unhealthy child.

“The important thing is getting them to the dentist,” Moreno said, followed by twice a year checkups.

Students, divided among seven classrooms, were selected to don a surgical gown, mask and gloves and to use props to show how to floss and demonstrate what happens if they don’t brush their teeth after drinking soda, juice and other sugary liquids.  The coloration turned off some kids, based on their expressions.

The kindergartners received new tooth brushes in exchange for their old ones, and also were given dental floss and an educational pamphlet. Use a new tooth brush about every three months, the dental team said.

“We’ve had children who haven’t used a tooth brush in two years,” Moreno said.

According to the South Texas Dental brochure, “A healthy, balanced diet, adequate amounts of fluoride, not leaving sugary, starchy food on their teeth longer than necessary, and regular brushing are all important for healthy teeth.”

Nurse Allen said South Texas Dental will be back on December 12 for free adult oral screening, from 8:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Southwest Campus cafeteria. 

Kindergartners demonstrate how to floss (Video)

Here's what happens when you don't brush your teeth! (Video)

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