My name is Neha Kanda and I am a sixth form student at Wolverhampton Girls’ High School applying for dentistry this October.
While on work experience at various dental practices, the vast disparities in the level of oral health and dental hygiene in children, based upon the socio-economic status of the area, struck me greatly. I spent two weeks at two mixed practices and two weeks at two NHS practices.
With Wolverhampton being within the top 20 most deprived areas in the UK, I initiated a project, following my work experience, to perform a workshop at a local primary school in an area with a particularly low socio-economic status, educating the children about preventative dentistry and maintaining a good standard of dental health in an interactive, informative and memorable way.
The workshop was carried out at Merridale Primary School Wolverhampton with year 2 children, aged 6-7. I was accompanied by my fellow pupil, Saairah Anwar, who hopes to study medicine.
Incorporating the tips and advice given to me by Dr Jonathan Lewney, Associate Editor (Science) BDJ Portfolio, I put together and gave the presentation on 25 September, and was commended for carrying out an ‘engaging, thoughtful and informative’ session.
Ranging from the importance of teeth and a healthy diet, to brushing techniques, fluoride toothpaste and even dental caries, the children interacted well and were eager to learn new information throughout. It was very fulfilling finishing the session knowing that the children had taken something away from the afternoon and were genuinely enthusiastic to put into practice what they had been taught. Beginning the session with the children not even knowing the basics of good oral hygiene, to finishing with a quiz where all 25 children were buzzing with excitement to tell me the correct answer, was one of the most satisfying aspects of the day.
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Kanada, N. Sixth former takes oral health to primary school children. BDJ Team 4, 17167 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/bdjteam.2017.167