Last week, Dr. Lois James spoke with first-graders at Lord Baltimore Elementary School about the importance of dental health.
“February is Dental Health Month,” explained James. “I think just increasing their dental IQ at a young age really helps, and it’s just lots of fun.”
During the presentation, James spoke to the students about good foods to eat — such as carrots and apples, and not-so-good foods to eat — such as chocolate cake and sports drinks.
“The children are very animated, and they really have a good time when we do this. What I do is I’ll hold up carrots, and I’ll say, ‘Good food or bad food?’ They all yell out, ‘Good food!” said James.
This was the fifth year that James and her staff have spoken to LB students about the importance of dental hygiene. During the interactive presentation, students learned they should brush their teeth for two minutes, listened to a song about brushing their teeth and watched a cartoon about what to expect when visiting the dentist.
Kids also learned that they have 20 baby teeth that will fall out and be replaced by 32 adult teeth.
“Do you know how many teeth pigs have?” James asked the children during the presentation: “Forty-four.”
“Whoa!” responded many of the students.
Her staff also dressed up in fun costumes and depicted Betty Bacteria being properly brushed away from a tooth.
“My hygienist’s mom made us costumes for this kind of thing,” James said. “We get dressed up as molars and toothpaste and bacteria, and we put on a little skit and dance around and talk to the children about what’s good food and bad food.”
Following the presentation, each student was sent home with a free toothbrush and toothpaste.
Prior to the presentation, the students’ teachers received packets from James so that the students were able to work on learning about dental health to prepare for the special presentation.
“They were able to work with the teachers before they came in. Essentially, they worked with them throughout the month.”
James said a child’s first visit to the dentist should be at age 2.
“An initial visit around 2, for an exam to make sure that their head and face are growing normally. Because if they’re not, there are things we can do early on to affect the growth of the jaw,” she explained. “Then, part of it is to also help educate mom and dad as far as brushing and maybe making sure they’re on fluoride supplements.
“We just try to give them a positive experience,” she said. “Often, we’ll do it seated on mom or dad’s lap because, at 2, they’re too little to just sit in the chair.”
Following the initial visit, James said children should see their dentist yearly until age 4 or 5, and then visit the dentist every six months.
“I think that what children learn at a young age carries through for the rest of their life for a healthy smile.”
During her annual visits to the school, not only do the kids have fun, so do James and her staff.
“They’re so much fun,” she said. “They’re so interested. It’s really a pleasure.”
Lois James D.D.S. General Dentistry is located at 17N Atlantic Avenue, Suite 4, in Ocean View. For more information, call (302) 537-4500 or visit www.drloisjames.com.