School of Dentistry allows children to tour museum during October
Published: Thursday, October 7, 2010
Updated: Thursday, October 7, 2010 01:10
The West Virginia University School of Dentistry is celebrating National Dental Hygiene Month by hosting tours of the Museum of Dentistry.
The school is showcasing the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry's "MouthPower" exhibit. It will be held Oct. 6 to Oct. 25.
The exhibit will give tours to children in kindergarten through third grade.
The students will be guided through eight hands-on learning stations, which include building a tooth, learning to brush and floss, saying no to smoking, tobacco and its effects on teeth and eating healthy.
The goal of the experiences will hopefully encourage the children to maintain a healthy oral lifestyle, said Louise Veselicky, interim dean of the School of Dentistry.
"It will improve behaviors like going to the dentist and getting people to take good care of their teeth," she said.
Amy Johns, director of public affairs for the Health Sciences Center, said the exhibit features a large mouth and toothbrush to allow the children to learn proper brushing and flossing skills.
This is the first time the museum has come to WVU, Johns said.
WVU is the only dental school in the state, Veselicky said. She hopes by offering an exhibit like this it will encourage the citizens to be more aware of their oral health.
"There is more and more research showing that if your mouth is healthy, your body is more healthy," she said.
She said that giving children a chance to have fun while learning about oral health rather than listening to someone speak in the classroom will leave a longer impression on the students.
"The little kids were excited today," Veselicky said.
The exhibit gave the teachers worksheets and information on oral health to continue educating their students, Veselicky said.
The exhibit will host about 50 to 150 elementary students a day during the month.
While giving the children a chance to learn about oral health, the museum provides the dentistry students a chance to learn how to educate and interact with younger patients, Veselicky said,
Dental hygiene students are helping the museum by directing the tours and doing the educational programs, she said.
"The WVU students are getting an experience to reach out to the children," Veselicky said. "It is part of their training."
She hopes that once the exhibit is over, the WVU students will walk away with skills to help them in their future.
"It will give them an appreciation for talking to large groups and with children," she said. "One day these children may even become their patients."
The exhibit is located on the WVU Health Science Campus near the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.