- Associated Press - Saturday, November 14, 2015

OAKDALE, La. (AP) - Some 200 first- and second-graders at Oakdale Elementary School on Nov. 4 learned the importance of oral health and taking care of their teeth.

Drs. Katina Beverly-Clark and Kredenna Beverly-Sumbler of Twinkling Smiles presented the Lessons in a Lunch Box: Healthy Teeth Essentials and Facts About Snacks program to help the students learn the proper way to brush, floss and care for their teeth.

The dentists, who are twin sisters, are working to bring a satellite office of Twinkling Smiles to Oakdale to focus on the dental needs of children in Allen Parish and surrounding areas.

“The children at this age are excited about anything that is different and fun,” Beverly-Sumbler said. “We want them to learn to be ambassadors of good oral health, and they are at that age they can properly brush their own teeth, so we want to show them how.”

Students attending the program received a bright orange lunchbox designed to teach them about dental health and healthy diets and encourage interest in careers in the dental profession.

The boxes included a carrot case with a rinse cup top. Each carrot case also included a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.

Beverly-Sumbler said it is important that children learn how to take care of their teeth at an early age.

“We want to provide them with all they need for proper oral health and show them how to use it properly,” she said. “Hopefully they will take the kits home and show it to their parents and let them get excited, too.”

Beverly-Clark said she hopes the students talk with their parents about what they learned to help families establish good oral health care.

“We are pediatric dentists, so our specialty is kids and we see them every day,” she said. “Our goal is to teach them all the ways and things they should do to not have a toothache. But the most important thing to do today is for them to take the kits home and actually use them to maintain good oral health and have nice, clean teeth.”

First-grader Marlie Haden said she realizes the importance of brushing her teeth to keep them clean. She said she brushes regularly every day and planned to use her kit when she got home.

“It’s very important because if your teeth get rotten, they will fall out,” first-grader Zoey McCoy said, adding that he brushes and flosses his teeth every day.

Cortland Hobson, a second-grader, said proper dental care is important to keep your “breath fresh and to get all the plaque out.”

“I brush every day,” Hobson said. “Twice a day - at night and in the morning.”

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Information from: American Press, http://www.americanpress.com

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