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Museum Program Teaches Girl Scouts Healthy Habits

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Written by Adam Zewe

Standing inches from an enormous set of teeth, Samantha Elliott didn't flinch. Instead, she reached for a giant piece of floss. Elliott and a group of her fellow Brownie scouts learned proper flossing techniques, as well as other important oral health information, as part of the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry's Mouth Power for Girl Scouts program on March 29.

A group of local Brownie scouts spent the morning at the museum completing activities at seven different hands-on learning stations. Dental student volunteers taught the girls about the importance of proper oral hygiene, the differences between baby teeth and permanent teeth, the dangers of tobacco use and the benefits of exercising and eating healthy meals. The scouts also explored a dental operatory and learned about the different careers available in the dental field. "It is important to teach these girls about dental careers now because they are at the age when they are beginning to think about what they want to do when they grow up," states Scott Swank, DDS, museum curator.

Second-year dental students Bryan Striffolino, DDS '16, and Colleen Browne, DDS '16, used larger-than-life models to show the scouts how tobacco use can cause oral cancer, tooth discoloration and gum disease. Browne explained that cigarette smoke contains dangerous chemicals, like arsenic and ammonia. "These girls are young enough that this message could have a real impact on them for the rest of their lives," says Striffolino.

After completing the program, the scouts received Mouth Power patches for their uniforms. The event was also a beneficial experience for the dental student volunteers, like Tera Poole, DDS '16, who practiced kid-friendly communication techniques. "I hope these girls learned that their everyday choices have an impact on their oral health and overall health," she remarks.

Click here to see a photo gallery from the event.


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  • Posting Date: 03/31/2014
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