Combating cavities: MVES learns proper dental hygiene

Kelly Pitts, a dental hygenist with Alabaster Pediatric Dentistry, uses "Maggie" the stuffed dragon to demonstrate proper brushing techniques to a group of MVES second-graders on Feb. 4. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Kelly Pitts, a dental hygienist with Alabaster Pediatric Dentistry, uses “Maggie” the stuffed dragon to demonstrate proper brushing techniques to a group of MVES second-graders on Feb. 4. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – A group of about 25 Meadow View Elementary School second-graders laughed and expressed their disgust when the “Dental Defenders” video they were watching displayed what can happen to teeth when neglected on Feb. 4.

The video, which was shown to all second-graders throughout the day, depicted rotten, putrid teeth as a warning of what can happen without proper dental hygiene.

“If we get a little cavity in our tooth, it’s OK. It can be fixed,” said Kelly Pitts, a dental hygienist from Alabaster Pediatric Dentistry. “But it’s not going to just go away by itself. It has to be filled.”

Pitts spent the day at the school teaching students about the importance of keeping their teeth clean and visiting the dentist regularly. After showing the “Dental Defenders” cartoon, which chronicled a group of superheroes’ fight against plaque monsters, Pitts shared tips to help keep the students’ teeth clean.

She encouraged the kids to brush for at least two minutes twice a day, and to floss and rinse once a day to keep cavities at bay. Pitts also encouraged the students to keep sweets and sugar-loaded drinks such as sodas and sports beverages to a minimum.

“It doesn’t matter what toothbrush you use. We are all different, so just pick one that you like,” Pitts said, adding the students should never share toothbrushes with others. “Brushing before bed is the most important. You don’t want to go to bed with all those germs and plaque in your mouth.”

The kids’ favorite part of the presentation came when Pitts used a stuffed dragon doll named “Maggie” to demonstrate proper brushing techniques.

This year marks the 14th year Pitts has visited the county’s schools to promote good dental hygiene, and she typically reaches abut 3,500 students every year, she said.

“Second grade is usually the highest I go,” Pitts said, noting the presentations help to instill good dental plans before negative habits form.