Learning to thrive beyond five
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Sulawske, Keley, Hernandez, Helena. 2019. Learning to thrive beyond five -- In Proceedings: 15th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Studies have shown that children in low-income families are at increased risk for dental caries due to improper feeding practices, lack of parental education, and lack of access to care. Furthermore, children with poor oral health have an increased risk of systemic inflammatory disease, which can affect their growth and development. Historically, oral hygiene research has focused on fluoride application, parental oral hygiene education, and has been conducted by dental hygienists, nurses, or dentists. The current research project was designed to provide oral health education directly to children and was conducted by physician assistant (PA) students. Moreover, the focus of the project was to educate kindergarten students on proper brushing, flossing, and nutrition to prevent dental caries, as well as the importance of good oral hygiene, through an interactive, age appropriate activity. The project was conducted in two Title I kindergarten classes, one in an urban area and the other in a rural setting. Thirty-six children, ages five to six years old, participated in the project. The project included an informative video followed by an interactive 15-minute activity designed to reinforce the importance of proper brushing, flossing, and nutrition. The level of student engagement demonstrated the Learning to Thrive Beyond Five oral health education activity could be an effective oral health education tool and replicated with minimal cost, time, and training. Additionally, it could be implemented into early childhood curriculum by teachers, school nurses, or PA students.
Presented to the 15th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held at the Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, April 26, 2019.
Research completed in the Department of Physician Assistant, College of Health Professions