Let’s Brighten Those Florida Smiles!!

Let’s Brighten Those Florida Smiles!Just in time for National Children’s Dental Health Month, the dental hygiene students of Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) have been very busy planning events that focus on the dental educational needs of a variety of entities throughout Southwest Florida. Community members from the youngest to the oldest benefit from instructions in oral healthcare provided by these students with each presentation tailored to the specific needs of the group.

Give Kids a Smile Day
From 9:00am-3:00pm on Saturday, February 13th, area dentists and dental hygienists will join with FSW students and faculty in promoting pediatric oral health through free oral health services and fun, educational activities.  The first 100 children, ages three to 17, will receive free oral hygiene instructions, dental examinations, x-rays, dental cleanings, and dental sealants as well as a free toothbrush and toothpaste.

No appointments are necessary for this event; patients will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. For additional information about the “Give Kids a Smile Day” event, please call (239) 985-8334.  The dental hygiene clinic is located on the Thomas Edison (Lee) campus in Fort Myers at 8099 College Parkway, Building A.

School Visits
Dental hygiene students will also be active in the community during the month of February promoting oral health at local elementary schools. Twelve hundred first grade and kindergarten students at Calusa Park Elementary, Tice Elementary, Diplomat Elementary, Gateway Charter, and Tree Line Elementary will receive oral health education and their own age-
specific toothbrush and toothpaste.  Dental hygiene students will present educational information on topics such as the first dentist visit, proper brushing and flossing, nutrition for good oral health, and cavity prevention.

February is not the only month in which the dental hygiene students reach out to young students, however. In Fall 2015, over 300 VPK students in three counties participated in presentations that included instruction in basic tooth brushing and flossing, the loss of primary (baby) teeth, and the first visit to a dental office. Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK) is a free educational program for children who are four years of age. VPK develops pre-reading, pre-math, language and social skills so students are more likely to succeed.

Also in fall, the dental hygiene students visited the Buckingham Exceptional Student Center located in east Fort Myers that serves students from all of Lee County with disabilities including, but not limited to, movement difficulties, sensory losses, and/or behavior problems. The dental hygiene students individualized the educational presentation to each student’s functional and/or intellectual ability. Ten classrooms with over 100 students received instruction that day, and students that could not actively participate due to their disabilities enjoyed skits performed by the students.

Community Outreach
The fall semester also included outreach efforts for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The dental hygiene students set up booths at WIC centers in Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres dispensing information on the care of children’s and infants’ teeth as well as the care of mothers‘ teeth during pregnancy. WIC, the supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children, is a food and nutrition program for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breast-
feeding postpartum women, as well as infants and children up to age five who are at nutritional risk. The focus of the presentation was to set a path for a lifetime of healthy habits for infants and children.

The elderly population residing in assisted living or nursing homes throughout Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties also benefitted from presentations from the dental hygiene students. The students gave instructions to 130 staff members who care for more than 800 senior residents. Instruction included dental care for the residents as well as the care of residents’ removable dentures and partial dentures. One of the most important aspects addressed is the potential for pneumonia if saliva containing dental plaque is aspirated into the lower respiratory tract. Therefore, staff members were encouraged to focus on the dental care of residents, especially for non-ambulatory residents, as an important part of daily care.

FSW is proud to serve our community through the many programs within the college.  Serving the community is an important component of the college experience and sets a path for a lifetime of connecting with others to solve problems and improve lives. Through these volunteer programs the Florida SouthWestern State College dental hygiene students gained a sense of pride, satisfaction, and accomplishment while giving back to others in need. This is just one example of how the programs at FSW are not just in the classroom but working in our community as well.

About Us: Brenda G. Schwing, RDH, BASDH
Clinical Coordinator – Dental Programs
Florida SouthWestern State College
Carol Chapman, CDA, RDH, MS
Clinical Coordinator – Dental Programs
Florida SouthWestern State College

Important Dates
at Florida SouthWestern State College

Give Kids a Smile Day
Thomas Edison (Lee) Campus
February 13, 2016

Spring Break
March 7-13, 2016
College Closed

FSW Open House
April 11-14, 2016
Visit www.fsw.edu/openhouse
for more information


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