Nadina Corbitt; Jaime Davila

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Have you noticed the powerful impact a smile creates? Dental Hygienists contribute and are licensed professionals who examine a patient’s signs of oral hygiene.

Dental Hygiene fourth-semester students at Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus recently educated youth and local businesses through community outreach about the importance of caring for their teeth and making good snack choices.

During a visit to Little Lou’s Daycare, TSTC students provided a fun-filled “Teeth for Tots” presentation aimed at ages three to six years old. The performance covered how many times to brush teeth, what happens when small areas of sticky plaque result in cavities, good snack food choices, what happens to a child’s baby tooth, how often to visit a dentist, how an x-ray looks, and a song about brushing teeth featuring Elmo.

Nadina Corbitt is a TSTC student in the program who played a tooth fairy in the presentation and taught children how to clean their teeth properly.

“Does the toothbrush have too much or just the right amount of toothpaste,” she said.

Jaime Davila played the chef and his role was to whip up healthy snack choices.

“I am whipping up snacks that will be very tasty,” he said.

Goody bags were offered to the daycare through generous donations from vendors and dental hygiene suppliers and contained a small soft bristle toothbrush, Listerine Smart Rinse (cavity protection), flossers, stickers, and Crest Kids Sparkle toothpaste, and coloring pages.

Lucretia Human, a TSTC Dental Hygiene instructor, added students learn the importance of dental public health in preparation for community outreach.

“Our students gain confidence in public speaking,” she said. “They also learn valuable lessons about educating these young children on how to care for their teeth and their bodies.”

Through community events, students gain confidence in public speaking, knowledge regarding how to better educate various age groups, how to plan, implement and assess an event, and the commitment of continuing outreach after they have graduated from the program.

According to onetonline.org, the need for dental hygienists is expected to grow 11% by 2028.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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