My Brownie Promise

Me teaching some of the Brownies about tooth anatomy

As many of you who follow my Facebook page may know, a few weeks ago I spoke at a Brownie's group in East London. 
When I was at university I was part of an organisation called 'Brush Up' which similarly ran after school events from Brownies to Scouts to Rainbows. We spoke about oral health and ran lots of activities to get kids interested in what's in their mouths!

Having a friend who was a Brownie Leader, I was eager to get involved in this sort of activity again, especially since I don't get to see that many children in my practice. 

What did I do?

I split the evening into 2 sections: one where we chatted in a circle about general oral health, and the other where I split the kids into 3 stations where they had an activity at each table. 

It's always interesting to see how much children know about oral health and sometimes they do come out with some surprising stuff; I once had one 7 year old ask me what was ameleogenesis imperfecta!

These brownies knew quite a bit! When I asked them to brush their teeth with imaginary toothbrushes and stop when they were done, there were 3 kids still frantically brushing away after 2 and a half minutes! Whether they do this at home or not is another question, but they definitely deserved stickers after that!

I had also filled an orange juice and a fizzy drink bottle with the amount of sugar in each and played a 'good food, bad food' game to help them learn what kind of foods can be harmful for your teeth.

At the stations, the girls dressed up as dentists and counted each others' teeth (there was a girl with some stainless steel crowns that got a lot of attention), played with my dentist playdough set (best christmas present ever) and at the third station I taught the girls about tooth anatomy and what happens when you get tooth decay. 

One of the girls dressing up as a dentist

I really had a lot of fun with the Brownies who seemed to have lots of fun too; there were quite a few girls who said they wanted to be dentists by the end of the evening! If you ever get the opportunity to get involved with something like this I would highly recommend it - it's really fulfilling as you get to improve your skills with children as well as it looking good on your CV.

My promise

The Brownie Promise has changed a bit from back in my day, but as it says,

I promise that I will do my best: To be true to myself and develop my beliefs, To serve the Queen and my community, To help other people and To keep the Brownie Law.

Getting involved in the community is something I would encourage all dentists to get involved with and non-dentists as well! Helping others to understand the importance of oral health is something we should be responsible for as a profession. Whilst awareness of oral health is increasing with some of the TV documentaries  that have aired recently, there is still a lot of work to do when the most common reason for childhood admissions to hospital is to have teeth taken out. 

So whilst it's easy to turn off your dentistry brain when you leave your surgery, we need to seize these sort of opportunities to help all people, not just children, improve their health. So I promise to do my best to improve the oral health of the general population, not just the patients who visit my practice.

Do you speak at events like this or been to a school to treat patients? Let me know in the comments below!

Photos taken with the permission of the Brownie Leader - Bethnal Green

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