In addition to lessons on environmental protection, members of Project Honduras taught dental hygiene to students in first through sixth grades. The goal of the curriculum was to teach the importance of dental hygiene and to design a feasible system for students to brush their teeth on a daily basis. This project was selected because there is limited access to dental care in Roatan, and there is substantial evidence linking dental health to overall health. Thus, by teaching students to protect their teeth now, their risk for disease later on will be reduced.
First, we strove to teach students appreciate their teeth by taking photos of students’ smiles with digital cameras and showing the students what their mouths looked like. We also taught them an interactive song involving the names of the parts of the mouth in English and Spanish. Later, we used a skit to show how cavities can form and how brushing their teeth can prevent cavities. Finally, we taught students how to brush their teeth and gave each student a toothbrush, toothpaste and a toothbrush cover to take home. This enabled them to continue to practice dental hygiene after we left, and hopefully changed their daily behavior in a small way that could have long-term positive impacts.