By Emma Crawford Kent
TUPELO – For dental hygienist Mary Bell, teaching young children about dental health is all about the rule of twos.
They should brush for two minutes, twice a day and visit the dentist twice a year.
Bell, who works at Children’s Dental Clinic in Tupelo, shared the rule of twos, along with some other dental health tips, with students at the King Early Childhood Education Center on Wednesday.
February is children’s dental health month, so although dental health is part of their everyday lives, Bell said she makes a point to visit schools, preschools and daycares throughout the month to teach children the basics.
Bell talked with ECEC students about where germs like to hide, how to hold their toothbrushes, the importance of fluoride and how dentists help keep their mouths healthy.
“The dentist is our friend and helper,” Bell told students. “Dental health is a part of our health. Healthy mouths help our bodies.”
Each student received a small plastic pouch stuffed with a new toothbrush, coloring sheet and more information about dental hygiene to take home.
Visiting young students at school helps familiarize them with what dentists do, Bell said, hopefully making them more comfortable when they visit a dentist’s office for a cleaning or other appointment.
“When you’re introducing them to dental health, you’re getting them to know that’s a part of them growing up,” Bell said.
Bell said teaching children preventative measures for taking care of their teeth reduces the chances of their first dental visit being a negative one.
“The younger we see them the less chance they have of having a bad experience,” Bell said. “If the first time a child goes to the dentist is when they have a bad toothache, that’s not a fun visit.”
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