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Taking oral health to school

Posted by Cheryl Bell on May 4, 2022 in News
(Photos: Mo Alabdoulsalam)

Students from the Faculty of Dentistry and Let’s Talk Science joined forces and marked Oral Health Month by visiting grade 1 classrooms at Nelson Whynder, Chebucto Heights, and Rockingstone Heights Elementary Schools.

Mohammed (Mo) Alabdoulsalam and Jillian Bishop, both DDS2, and Let’s Talk Science volunteers Sophie Tanner, Kate-Lynn Smith, and Gabrielle Levesque, all medical sciences students, gave five workshops on the importance of oral health, how to maintain good oral hygiene, and how to prevent cavities.

l to r: Mo, Kate, Jill

Brushing and flossing are important

Mo and Jillian devised two different activities to help reinforce the messages they were telling the children. During one activity, the children were asked to match good and bad foods with a corresponding poster board. In the other, they learned about brushing and flossing and why they are important by trying to remove Play-Doh ‘plaque’ from between the cubes – ‘teeth’ - of an ice cube tray.

A highlight of one of the workshops, says Mo, was seeing a child who is largely non-verbal and frequently doesn’t participate becoming more engaged.

“He was laughing, talking to us about his teeth, and enjoying the activities!” says Mo. “It’s the little things that make a big impact.”

At the end of the sessions, the students were able to give the children toothbrushes and toothpaste that Crest/Oral B had donated to the project. The students added stickers, a sugar-free lollipop, and a pamphlet about good oral health care.  

“Giving the students sugar-free lollipops at the end of the workshops helped reiterate that not all candy is bad for your teeth, it’s the amount of sugar it contains,” says Jillian. It’s safe to say that all the kids really enjoyed the lollipops!

Mo and Jillian are grateful to everyone – faculty, students, and sponsors – who supported the workshops.