The Donald Berman Oral Health Education Program
Children and youth living below the poverty line typically suffer far more severe problems with their teeth due to poor diet, lack of oral hygiene habits or parents who are unable to provide regular dental treatment or are unaware of the importance of such treatment and prevention.
Yet, with the gift of a toothbrush, toothpaste and some solid education, the oral health of these kids is being improved for life, and they remain in school, where they belong. Therefore, DVI reaches out to poor children and youth across Jerusalem, teaching them oral hygiene education, including proper diet & teeth care.
DVI provides oral health education to thousands of low-income children and at-risk youth through the Donald Berman Oral Health Education Program. The Oral Health Education Program, is located in a separate wing from the clinic, in fact, in its own building. The classroom itself was renovated in 2010, transforming it from a storage room which doubled as a classroom to a proper Oral Health classroom, complete with sinks, stepstools, mirrors, display cabinets, benches, instructional posters and models and more. The Oral Health wing also includes the hygienist room – between that room and the classroom are activity (or waiting) rooms. These rooms were outfitted with oral health education games, books, activities and a flat screen television which shows oral health videos.
Progressive Course Curriculum includes:
- Awareness of the need for oral hygiene
- What is plaque? How do I get it?
- How to brush teeth properly
- How to use floss
- What do I have teeth for, anyway?
- What is an infection of the gums?
- How does the food I eat effect my oral health?
- Smoking and oral health
Oral Health Education OUTREACH Program
DVI is looking for a partner to restart its powerful Oral Health Education Outreach Program, which has a tremendous effect on oral health in Jerusalem’s impoverished sector. DVI’s new hygienist, Debbie Rachmilevitz, ran DVI’s Outreach program from 2011 – 2012. Debbie visited children’s shelters, absorption centers and schools to teach children at high risk of dental disease about oral hygiene.
The children meet with our representative 2 to 3 times, depending on the group. In general, a significant percentage of the kids do not brush their teeth at all! They do not know how to brush properly, and do not understand the consequences of neglecting their mouths.
Children and youth participated well and reported to their teachers and/or counselors that they were brushing their teeth more often and were more aware of the importance of taking care of their oral health. We were able to see that the course instilled values that will have a positive effect on these kid’s lives for years to come.
DVI looks forward to bringing oral health education to Bedouin communities and is looking for partners for this important project.