A lot of children like the sugary taste of soda, but a group of young children at the College Street Academy learned it’s not good for their teeth.
“Soda is the worst thing you can drink,” said Bonnie Johnson, a public health hygienist, while holding up a large toothbrush. “It’s important for you to drink it from a straw so it won’t harm your teeth.”
Even juice can be bad because of all the sugar and acid particles contained in it, the Pre-K students were told. As she continued to speak, the children tuned in as she continued to give advice such as drinking milk and water.
“Make good choices for your body,” Johnson said.
In addition to her presentation, Johnson conducted dental screening for children attending the academy. As a health professional from North Carolina Public Health, one of her goals is to prevent dental disease and provide education in a nine-county region. After the screenings, a report was sent home to parents, which featured recommendations such as visiting a dentist, if needed.
While speaking to the students, the most important message she stressed was brushing twice a day, for 2 minutes each time.
“We got to brush our teeth before we come to school and at night time before we go to sleep,” she said. “It’s so important to get those germs off our teeth.”
The germs could lead to problems such as cavities. According to the organization’s Oral Health Section, tooth decay is one of the most common childhood diseases and 37 percent of children in kindergarten are effected by decay.
Johnson believes it’s important to start teaching as early as possible. Right now, the children have baby teeth, but their “grown-up” teeth will have to last a lifetime.
“I absolutely love working with the small children,” Johnson said. “We’re catching a lot of these kids early, so we can find issues that can be taken care of.”
For more information about the state’s oral health program, visit www.oralhealth.ncdhhs.gov.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.