Dr. Nina and Dr. Saba Visit with Students for National Children’s Dental Health Awareness Month
Dr. Nina Arora and Dr. Saba Sheikh went back to school in February for National Children’s Dental Health Awareness Month. The dentists visited virtually to talk about dental health, alligator teeth, and more with kids in 3rd-, 4th-, and 5th-grade classes at St. Andrew’s Elementary in Romeoville, Illinois.
Smart Students Know the Basics of Dental Care
Both Dr. Nina and Dr. Saba used a casual Q&A style to talk with the students about dental health, alligator teeth, and more. They covered the basics, including:
How many teeth do people have?
This was the most challenging of all the questions for the three classes, with lots of guesses between 15 and 40! The answer: 32 adult teeth in total, including wisdom teeth.
In a surprising comparison, the dentists talked about how many teeth alligators have! Alligators have 80 teeth at a time, but unlike humans, alligators can grow their teeth back when they lose them, and that happens a lot! So alligators might have thousands of teeth over their lifetime, but people only get one set. That’s why we have to be so careful to keep them healthy.
Why are our teeth so important?
This one was a slam dunk for the kids. They weren’t shy, raising their hands and offering many variations on the correct answers. All three classrooms correctly identified the three big reasons our teeth are very important to us: eating, talking, and smiling! Showing extra smarts, the fifth-grade class cleverly pointed out that healthy teeth contribute to overall health, and even heart health. That’s very true!
What are the best ways to take care of our teeth?
The students eagerly and correctly answered this one too, with lots of participation in all of the classrooms. They identified all of the key areas of dental care, including:
- Eating and drinking healthy things like fruits, veggies, milk, and water and avoiding (or at least reducing) sweet and sticky things like juices, soda pop, and candy
- Brushing and flossing teeth and gums correctly for two minutes twice a day, plus rinsing with mouthwash if desired
- Visiting the dentist twice a year to get teeth cleaned and checked for cavities
For more details, check out our infographic shared last month!
Curiosity Leads to Learning, and Maybe Dental School
The students chimed in with many great questions, so Dr. Nina and Dr. Saba had fun answering questions too! Here are some of the things the kids brought up for discussion with the dentists:
Can you use toothpicks to brush your teeth?
It might be tempting, but unfortunately it’s not the best idea. Toothpicks can poke your gums, give you splinters, or even get stuck between your teeth themselves. It’s better to stick with the right equipment: a good soft-bristle toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and dental floss.
How do you brush your teeth if you have braces?
Very carefully! Your dentist will give you special tools and advice for cleaning your teeth and braces if and when you get them. There are also other ways besides braces to straighten your teeth and align your bite, like Invisalign clear orthodontics, which allows you to brush as usual.
What are teeth made of and how do they grow?
This is a pretty advanced question! Teeth have three layers. The white part on the outside is enamel. Beneath that is a middle layer called dentin. And way inside in the very center of the tooth is a nerve. That’s what you feel if you have a toothache. Each tooth starts as a tooth bud, which is actually the top part of the tooth. The root grows downward from there, pushing the top part up until it’s fully grown into your mouth.
How long does it take to become a dentist?
A few of the students in different classes asked this question, and a couple even said they might want to become a dentist! To become a dentist, after high school you first have to go to college for four years and then go to dental school for another four years. Finally, you take a test to get certified, and then you are a dentist. It’s all worth it for the chance to help people have healthy smiles!
We hope you know you don’t have to wait for a classroom visit or even your appointment to ask us questions. You can contact us anytime, and we’d be happy to discuss it with you on the phone.
To schedule your visit now, fill out this form, or call our office at (708) 448-7588.