For the third consecutive year, students from College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Dental Assisting program participated in an educational outreach event that helps promote oral health to 500 students at Koelsch Elementary School in Boise. This year the opportunity included a new collaboration as CWI teamed up with the Skyview Dental Assisting program to provide the same experience for students from Columbia, Nampa, and Skyview High Schools.
The event included presentations and hands-on demonstrations. The dental assisting students collaborated on a brief presentation, which involved volunteers from each elementary class, to demonstrate what a visit to a dental office entails. They also explained the roles of the dentist and dental assistant.
Students from Koelsch then visited a display that explained and measured how much sugar is contained in different foods. As part of the display, CWI Dental Assisting students presented results from a very effective experiment that was done in their public health course this year. In the experiment, a set of teeth was immersed in an energy drink while another set was submerged in Mountain Dew for intervals of one week, two weeks, and three weeks. The damage done to the teeth was recorded. The study proved to be a highly effective teaching aid for the display at Koelsch, helping explain the sugar content and acids in common foods and drinks.
The event concluded with students breaking into small groups for hands-on experience with brushing and flossing. Each Koelsch student was given a toothbrush, floss, tongue scraper, toothbrush timer, and toothpaste, which were donated by Saint Alphonsus.
Monica Satake, assistant professor in the CWI Dental Assisting program, says the event was highly successful and that several Koelsch students even expressed interest in becoming a dentist one day.