A group of 19 dental assistant students shared their knowledge with students at Greenbrae Elementary School in Sparks on Tuesday in creative ways.
The future dental assistants were armed with skits, a giant toothbrush, jump rope "floss," smiley tooth costumes and a bunch of gross pictures. This was done to engage the children in learning how to protect their dental health.
"The most important thing children can do now is to take care of their teeth and nutrition — and learn what they should eat and shouldn't be eating," said TMCC instructor Linda McGillicuddy.
To help relay the message, AT&T volunteers funded and distributed dental hygiene kits for each student as part of a free dental hygiene program that travels to one local school per year.
"Now remember, use your new toothbrushes to brush your own teeth," said Julie Muhle, coordinator of the dental assistants program. "We're not going to brush our dog's or cat's teeth, right?"
Giggles erupted from the crowd of first, second and third graders who were sitting with their legs in a "criss-cross-apple-sauce" style on the cafeteria floor.
Then three dental assistant students dressed as giant teeth and the tooth fairy told the story about how Timmy the Tooth fought the sugar bugs — plaque and tartar — by cutting back on sugar, brushing teeth and flossing three times a day, in addition to getting dental cleanings twice a year.
A second presentation gave dental health and nutrition information in a kid-friendly format, along with some "ewww"-inspiring photos of neglected teeth.
"Dental assistant students create presentations that are age-appropriate," McGillicuddy said. "It's part of their grade. Students are required to do community service, but are not required to do this particular program."