WVU School Of Dentistry Brings Oral Health Presentation To Marlinton Elementary School

Marlinton, WV – “What we would like to see is this young generation of children be cavity free” says Gina Sharpes, of the West Virginia School of Dentistry. “And dental disease is very prevalent in West Virginia, and it need not be; it’s completely preventable.”

Sharpes recently presented the “Lessons in a Lunch Box” dental kit program at Marlinton Elementary School. Laura Young with the Family Resource Network explains why the program is so important.

“One of the main reasons we do this program is because Pocahontas County only has one Dentist” says Young. “And it’s impossible for him to serve everybody in this County. Some of the kids in our schools have never sat in a dentist chair, and they need check- ups at least every six months.”

Randy Sharp, representing the Snowshoe Foundation, presented a check to Sharpes to pay for the program and associated expenses and thanked both her and Young.

“We appreciate you all, applying for the Grant, and it’s exactly what we look for, to touch as many children in our county and our surrounding counties also. We appreciate you being here for us, and for getting Gina to come down from West Virginia University to put on our program.”

Gina Sharpes describes the content of her program.

“I actually have 2 dental hygiene students with me today and one dental student to bring educational material to the students of Marlinton Elementary School, obviously with a focus on oral health” she says. “What we’re going to do is a real quick, short, exciting program with them, talking with them about basic oral health instruction; brushing, flossing, and also with a huge emphasis on good nutrition, good things to eat, bad things to eat.”

Using puppets and props Sharpes team showed kids how to properly brush their teeth. They used the kids as teeth and a jump rope as floss and showed the kids how to correctly floss. They dressed the kids up like a dental workers and demonstrated what to expect when the kids visit the dentist.

And they helped pack a nutritious teeth friendly lunch for one of the puppets. Ron Hall, Principle of Marlinton Elementary School, offers his view of the program.

“I just appreciate West Virginia University doing this for us and Laura Young for facilitating it for us” he says, “it was nice. It was a good program for the kids. This is an age that we want to address such issues, so it’s good.”

The kids all had a good time and participated in all the exercises with great enthusiasm. With luck they learned a valuable lesson as well as had fun. And if nothing else, they each received a string back pack and an electric tooth brush.

The Lessons in a Lunchbox program originated with the Maryland Childrens Oral Health Institute. If you want to learn more about the program, check out their website www.mycohi.org/lunchbox.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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