Kids Can Learn About Oral Care At Celebration Of Smiles

12/09/05  Portland, Ore.

OHSU School of Dentistry, the Children's Museum, The ODS Companies, A-dec and local dental societies team up to sponsor annual educational event.

Children should brush their teeth for two minutes for maximum benefit, and the best times to brush are after breakfast and before bed. Babies aged 8 to 23 months can actually "catch" cavities from their mothers via a bacteria known as streptococcus mutans, so a new mother's oral health is critical.

These dental tips and more will be available to young people and their parents at the fourth annual Celebration of Smiles on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Portland Children's Museum. Celebration of Smiles is organized and sponsored by the Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry, The ODS Companies, A-dec, and the dental societies of Multnomah, Clackamas, Clark, and Washington counties.

Children should brush their teeth for two minutes for maximum benefit, and the best times to brush are after breakfast and before bed. Babies aged 8 to 23 months can actually "catch" cavities from their mothers via a bacteria known as streptococcus mutans, so a new mother's oral health is critical. 

These dental tips and more will be available to young people and their parents at the fourth annual Celebration of Smiles on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Portland Children's Museum. Celebration of Smiles is organized and sponsored by the Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry, The ODS Companies, A-dec, and the dental societies of Multnomah, Clackamas, Clark, and Washington counties.

"We find that children love to learn about dental care when the information is presented in a fun way," said Prashant Gagneja, B.D.S., M.S., chairman of pediatric dentistry at OHSU. "Learning about oral care in an informal, positive setting also helps children become more comfortable with the idea of having their teeth cleaned so they can be healthy and become healthy adults."     

Children at Celebration of Smiles will be given a dental passport to visit six stations. Each station will have hands-on crafts to help young people learn how to better care for their teeth. For example, one station has Wally Gator, the oversized grinning reptile chair that children can sit on to get comfortable with dental care. At another station, children can paint using a toothbrush or have their face painted. Additional activities, include painting plaster tooth molds, drawing your own smile, and tips on nutrition and oral care. Young people can get their passport stamped after visiting each station and receive a take-home prize. 

Several times during Celebration of Smiles (10 a.m. and noon) there will be a puppet show for children about Bob the Tooth Fairy and special stories read aloud (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Parents also can attend a presentation on ways to keep teeth healthy before, during and after pregnancy (1 p.m.), and a talk on how proper nutrition can help ward off cavities (3 p.m.).      

With each paid adult ticket, one child 12 or younger will be admitted free to 'Celebration of Smiles.' General admission is $7; seniors and military members are $6; children younger than 1 and museum members will be admitted free.

The Children's Museum is located at 4015 S.W. Canyon Road, Portland, across from the Oregon Zoo. Parking is available with a suggested donation of $1. Five minutes from downtown Portland, the Portland Children's Museum is accessible by MAX Light Rail and TriMet bus No. 63.

Founded in 1949, Portland Children's Museum is a hands-on museum for children aged birth to 10. The non-profit museum's mission is to inspire imagination, creativity, and the wonder of learning in children and adults. The museum features changing exhibits (such as frontier presents Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street now through May 29, 2006), arts-based programs and a public school. Make a splash in our better and wetter Water Works; dig into fun in the Dig Pit; join the construction crew in Building Bridgetown; shop and prepare a meal in our role-play Kid City Market and Cafe; paint your face, put on a costume, take center stage and see yourself on TV; dance to the beat of your own bongos; turn trash into treasures in The Garage; sculpt a creation in the Clay Studio; watch a puppet show or stage your own!

Open fall/winter hours (Sept. 1-February 28): Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.