With the end of the school year, TeethFirst celebrates its success in Park City.
The school year ended just a few days ago. For TeethFirst this meant celebrating the success of our after-lunch-floss-and-brush Pilot Project at McPolin Elementary School and celebrating a successful semester-long partnership with Park City Center For Advanced Professional Studies (PCCAPS) with 2 students who helped develop a prototype for TeethFirst’s vision of making oral hygiene as accessible as hand hygiene.
The input and insight TeethFirst gathered from mingling with Elementary, Junior High and High Schools was invaluable, contributing to forge ahead with an action plan for weaving oral health into the Park City Community.
Here is what we did at McPolin Elementary School:
From March 2nd to June 3rd, all the children in 2 Kindergarten classes at McPolin Elementary School flossed and brushed their teeth after lunch under the supervision of their teachers.
TeethFirst’s goals for this project were
1 – to demonstrate the ease of having children floss and brush in the classroom with oral hygiene instruments that didn’t require water or spitting.
2 – to collect feedback that would inform the design team involved in the creation of a new oral hygiene instrument at PCCAPS.
3 – to begin the first step of our mission of…
… MAKING ORAL HYGIENE AS ACCESSIBLE AS HAND HYGIENE
Although we didn’t conduct a baseline assessment of the children oral health, we know that several children’s gums were bleeding at the beginning of the project but none at the end. Success!
1 – Inflamed / bleeding gums
2 – Brushing less than 2 times per day
3 – Not flossing daily
are all considered caries (tooth decay) risk factors, we can say that TeethFirst made a positive difference in caries risk for the children in the Pilot Project by eliminating 3 of the most common risk factors for tooth decay. We also know from quality research that supervised toothbrushing leads to a significant reduction in the incidence of caries.
At the end of May, the PCCAPS students working on the TeethFirst Project presented the summary of their semester’s work in front of a small crowd at McPolin Elementary School. Their presentation made such an impact that they received an invitation to present in front of the school board, which they did on June 2nd. They also produced a prototype for an innovative oral hygiene instrument that will make flossing and brushing in the classroom even easier. McPolin and PCCAPS’ synergistic collaboration led to innovation in service of oral health.
What’s in store for next fall? Grow the program at McPolin to include all of the Kindergarten classes and all of the grade 1 classes as well. Parley’s Park Elementary is also eager to get started with an after lunch flossing and brushing program with all of its Kindergarten students. On the more grown up side of things, TeethFirst hopes to continue developing its vision with the help of the Business Department of PCCAPS next semester.
We also hope, budget permitting, to start looking at the feasibility of launching a program for pre-schoolers next fall. With these younger children, TeethFirst will need much more support as these little 3 and 4 year old children will require much more supervision and assistance.