Lessons in a Lunch Box

Forty first-grade students at Elizabeth Hall Elementary School in North Minneapolis learned about dental health, healthy diets, and careers in dentistry at Minnesota’s first annual Lessons in a Lunch Box: Healthy Teeth Essentials & Facts About Snacks® Program held February 24, 2017. Sponsored by the newly organized University of Minnesota Student National Dental Association (SNDA), the program is an oral health literacy event created to provide children with an early education about the importance of taking care of their teeth, healthy eating and snacking, and dental careers.  Ten U-M dental students took part in the classroom visit as part of the student association’s inaugural Children’s Dental Health Month event.  

“We had a great day,” says Hannah Afwerke, third-year dental student and president and founding member of the U-M Student National Dental Association.   “We were welcomed with open arms.  The children were excited and engaged, and volunteers had a lot of fun, too.  ”

Lessons in a Lunch Box was created to help children to begin learning early and throughout grade school about oral health and dental careers. The day featured videos and interactive dental-related activities that included brushing and flossing lessons, a discussion about sticky plaque and how to make healthy food choices. Plus every child received an orange lunch box with a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss inside of a carrot-shaped case, with a personal rinse cup. The lunch box also included oral health information for parents. Teachers received oral health information and resources, as well as what to do in situations of dental trauma and emergency.