Molly Molar smiled her persistent smile as a friend talked about happy teeth, fuzzy teeth and sugar bugs.
"Happy teeth are the ones that are smooth and shiny," said Sharon Kuttler, a dental hygienist with the Kuttler Dental Team, while standing next to the huggable, human-sized tooth.
The duo visited Marshall Elementary School preschool, kindergarten and first-grade students in March to help teach healthy dental habits.
Kuttler has made visits to schools for years. Recently, she updated her materials when she joined the National Children's Oral Health Foundation, known as America's ToothFairy. The foundation tries to eliminate children's preventable suffering from pediatric dental disease by providing programs and resources to deliver community-based preventive, educational and treatment services.
Kuttler said she got "carried away" and put together a resource guide, The Tooth Fairy's Toolbox, for local teachers to help them prepare class projects during National Children's Dental Health Month in February.
Nicole Plachetta, a Marshall kindergarten teacher, took those guides and transformed them into packets for some Marshall teachers to help with classroom dental health activities.
"As teachers, we're always looking for community members to come in and speak with the kids," Plachetta said.
She added that she was excited to have Kuttler talk with the students and not only show them the importance of good dental health but also that they can be dental hygienists.
Here are some tips Kuttler and Molly Molar, played by Rhonda Pope, shared:
- Brush and floss at least two times every day.
- Brush 10 times in every place. It should take 2 minutes to brush your teeth.
- Establish good teeth habits at an early age.
- Children need help flossing through first grade. All children should be supervised until they turn 8 to ensure they brush and floss their teeth correctly.
- Know what is considered good food and bad food for teeth. For instance, white milk and water are good foods and pop and apple pie are bad foods.
- Use your smile to be happy and healthy.
This article, written by Stacey Becker, and photograph, taken by Jeremy Portje, appeared in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald in March 2013. Both are republished here with permission from the Telegraph Herald.