A child having a cavity or two in their baby teeth can seem insignificant. Those teeth will fall out after all. The habit however, of taking care of our teeth is often learned or not learned in childhood. With poor dental health habits, cavities in baby teeth, later in life become cavities in permanent teeth and then possibly lost teeth, root canals or a host of other dental problems.
To bring the importance of developing proper habits to children, Dr. Mahara, a Nanaimo dentist is taking dental health education to the schools. “The best dental treatment,” he says, “is prevention” – learning about brushing and flossing and eating right.
“Kids learn best when they are interested, engaged and having fun,” says Dr. Mahara of Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group. This is what the “catch a smile” program is all about.
Realizing the importance of kids learning about dental health in a relaxed and positive environment, Dr. Mahara decided to take the learning to the kids in school. The “Catch A Smile Dental Program” was originally designed and piloted by Rotary Club of Kihei Sunrise–Maui, Hawaii in 2012. Donna Allen, a long serving Rotary member, liked the idea and partnered with Dr. Mahara to bring it to Nanaimo.
The concept was adopted and funded by the Rotary Club of Nanaimo – Daybreak for implementation in kindergarten classes in eight schools in the Nanaimo – Ladysmith School District 68 in 2015 and is going strong into 2019.
“We play games, sing a song and have a laugh with Mr. Chewy, a big blue stuffy dragon with a big teeth. Mr. Chewy happily squirts water which makes kids laugh and giggle.”
To add to the show, a fellow Rotarian and a couple of Vancouver Island University dental assisting students, who dress up like tooth fairies, come along to help out Dr. Mahara.
The kids also get to play a food game with Mr. Chewy. All kids are randomly given a pictures of different foods. They are asked to identify foods that are healthy or unhealthy for our body and teeth. Then they learn to sing a brushing song while practicing good brushing technique.
Currently schools are contacted individually. We’d like to reach to as many schools as we can. School principals can feel free to reach out to us to arrange this program for their school.
Dr. Mahara also hopes that parents can get involved at home and participate with the kids. And, if teachers continue the singing and pretend brushing in the class routine, it will create a habit.
Are you dentist or educator? We would be happy to tell you more about bringing this program to your community. Contact Us.