For children and teens, taking care of their teeth might not be their Number 1 interest or priority.
However, with tooth decay still being one of the most common – and preventable – chronic diseases in kids ages six to 19, it’s important to get them active in their own health and hygiene.
A public health nurse, Jody Eaton, recently took part in two local events and took advantage of the time to educate kids on dental hygiene.
Working with the public health department, elementary and middle schools, the local baseball league, and more, Jody found creative ways to get kids involved.
Hear from Jody in the blog below, and leave a comment with your ideas of fun ways to educate kids on oral health!
With a kit of dental hygiene supplies from Henry Schein Cares Foundation, our local public health team of nurses was able to incorporate oral heath into two major outreach efforts for children and teens in Duluth, Minnesota.
The first outreach that we participated in brought out nearly 1,400 children from local elementary schools.
The event was called “Mugs and Hugs,” held at Wade Stadium in Duluth, where our regional baseball team plays. Mugs and Hugs offered parents a chance to protect their children by collecting pictures, fingerprints, and DNA, which was stored on a DVD that parents can give to police if their child goes missing. For the kids, they were offered mugs full of root beer floats and a chance to watch baseball with their classmates.
As nurses, we were able to educate the children about the importance of proper dental care and hygiene as soon as they arrived from each school. The kids were able to ask questions, receive dental samples, and collect written educational materials on dental hygiene. We also addressed their questions and used it as an opportunity to educate them on other areas of public health.
The event was a great way to introduce oral hygiene in a space where kids were excited and comfortable.
Our second outreach event was sponsored by Lake Superior College called “Scrubs Camp.”
Scrubs Camp is a free program which hosts 60 middle school students, encouraging them to check out a variety of careers, such as nursing, laboratory science, social work, and many others.
The goal of the camp is to have children start to think about their future. As nurses, we were able to provide an overview about how to become a nurse and some of the jobs that we perform in the community.
We created an interactive game to teach the students about health care and nursing. We used the dental supplies as one of our prizes for participating.
With this outreach event, we were able to use the donated dental supplies as both education and incentive to engage children in learning about health and hygiene.
Thank you to the Henry Schein Cares Foundation for allowing us to reach many children without our community with your donation!
Jody Eaton is a Public Health Nurse for St. Louis County Public Health & Human Services
Jody Eaton was supported by the Henry Schein Cares Foundation Health Kit Outreach program.