Pupils get to grips with oral health

Year four pupils from Glen Park Primary School and Year three pupils at Boringdon Primary School in Plymouth have got their teeth into diet and oral health, thanks to lessons organised by students from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and Business School.

57 eight-year olds from Glen Park and 64 seven-year olds from Boringdon spent the time given to them learning about their teeth, how to look after them properly and how to have a healthy diet.

The pupils learned about the types of teeth and how to brush them properly. To help them do this the students brought along with them some simulation heads, so that the pupils could practice the best techniques. They also learned all about the difference between milk teeth and adult teeth, and what to expect when their own milk teeth become wobbly and are replaced with grown-up teeth.

A food and diet station provided information about foods that are good and bad for teeth, including information about foods that contain hidden sugar. The pupils also got to make their own toothpaste.

The school visits were organised by the students, from drawing up lesson plans, obtaining the resources to carry out the lessons and ultimately delivering them.

The activities were supervised by Professor Gill Jones, who is director of Dental Undergraduate Studies at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. She said: 'Visits to schools such as Glen Park and Boringdon are important to us for two reasons: it gives our students excellent experience at working positively with children; and it allows us to make a beneficial impact not just on the oral health of the communities in which we operate, but also to children’s perceptions of the dentist. Our students did a fantastic job in organising the school visits and our thanks go to the teachers and pupils at both schools for helping us to run really successful and fun events.'

Individuals who deserve mention are: Kyle Durman (who led this particular session on dentistry), Rohini Kulkarni (who initiated and leads the wider programme) and Jennifer Ansett (who leads the Peer Teaching Initiative, which trains the student-teachers). Thanks also go to Julian True, whose knowledge of primary education was invaluable to the students who put together the school visits.

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