By Catherine Rice, Vice President of Marketing/Outreach
To celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) is partnering with UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas and the Olathe Noon Optimists Club to sponsor a coloring contest for third graders attending Title 1 schools in the Olathe and Shawnee Mission School Districts. Fourteen schools will be participating.
This year’s theme is around “loving your teeth” by brushing and flossing. The contest runs from now till Feb. 17. Prizes will be awarded, and winners’ artwork will be displayed at the Olathe Clinic.
Dental hygiene is one of the most important things we can teach our children, and it needs to start early. Excellent oral hygiene is a life skill that children will use for the rest of their lives, and it can impact their overall health and even their ability to grow and learn.
“We are so happy about this opportunity to remind kids about the importance of dental health and self-care and thrilled to do it with this fun and engaging contest,” says Laura Canelos, Director of Community Outreach for UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas.
The coloring contest is a great way to remind children of the importance of dental hygiene and make it fun. Last year, the clinic, along with UHC, hosted its first coloring contest in celebration of the clinic’s 30 years of service. Nearly 300 Olathe third grade students participated. We hope to attract even more entries this year by welcoming students from Shawnee Mission’s Title 1 schools.
“We at the Olathe Noon Optimists Club are thrilled to partner with Health Partnership and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas to raise awareness about oral health,” adds William Shafer, President of the Olathe Noon Optimists Club. “The Optimists have a long-standing tradition of helping elementary students with dictionaries and high school students with scholarship money toward college. Participating in the Children’s Coloring Contest is the perfect type of collaboration we search for!”
There are lots of resources online on how to instruct your children about brushing and flossing their teeth. Below are some quick and easy-to-remember tips.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Brushing Teeth:
- Use the Right Amount of Toothpaste: The ADA recommends using a grain-of-rice-sized amount of toothpaste for children under three years old and a pea-sized amount for children ages three and older. Make sure your child spits out the toothpaste and never swallows it.
- Correctly Angle the Toothbrush: Angle the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline.
- Brush with the Proper Technique: Use tooth-sized strokes to gently brush the teeth. Make sure to entirely clean the front, back and chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- Don’t Forget the Tongue: The tongue is full of harmful bacteria, and it must get cleaned with a toothbrush or tongue scraper every time your child brushes their teeth.
- Finish with Floss: As soon as two of your child’s teeth touch, it is time to start flossing. Guide the floss between the teeth, and be sure to curve it along the entire length of the tooth. Use a new section of floss for each tooth. For older kids (and adults), a fluoride mouthwash or rinse can provide additional protection.
Parents…Make it fun!
Lead by Example: Have your children watch when you brush your teeth and encourage them to try it themselves. You can even try to have your child brush your teeth while you brush theirs.
Play Some Tunes: Brushing time doesn’t have to be boring; spice it up with your children’s favorite tunes. Try to shoot for songs that are about two minutes. Singing Happy Birthday twice always works, too!
Let Your Child Choose: Let your children pick out a toothbrush and toothpaste that they like. There are lots of colorful toothbrushes with fun cartoon characters and many flavors of toothpaste.
Parents remember it is vital to receive regular checkups, provide a healthy diet and teach good oral hygiene habits. This will help prevent cavities and keep those smiles bright.
HPC provides dental services to children and teens and accepts Medicaid and other insurance plans. We also offer a sliding fee discount program for those who qualify. To schedule an appointment, call 913-648-2266. To learn more about our services, visit https://hpcks.org/our-services/dental/.