The group of students with special needs have been learning about personal hygiene, so Learning Support Co-ordinator Karen Johansen popped into the Lumino Whitianga practice to ask if someone could help show the students how to properly brush their teeth.
Oral health Therapist Leo said he was absolutely keen to help and talk to the students and says the opportunity to help was rewarding.
“They all deserve to have beautiful smiles, so I was so happy to help,” he says.
Leo says he loves that in his role as an Oral Health Therapist he is able to contribute to the community and help people improve their health.
Although somewhat out of his comfort zone, Leo says he enjoyed the experience and seeing the students’ happy smiles.
Through this initiative Leo says they have been able to book students into the government’s free dental scheme for children, some of whom may have been missed otherwise.
Leo moved to the Coromandel township only at the beginning of the year but already has filled the books and has happy and smiling patients walking out the door of the Whitianga practice.
He says he loves seeing the changes in his patients and to see them take ownership of their oral health.
Lumino Whitianga Practice Manager, Elaine Lambert, says the practice loves getting involved in the community, having participated in the annual Lumino Day and holding talks for new mothers on how best to look after their baby’s teeth.
Karen Johansen, Learning Support Co-ordinator at Mercury Bay Area school says having Leo come into the school for the presentation was fantastic.
“We had been learning about personal hygiene, so having Leo come in to talk about oral health was great.”
Karen says some of the students have mobility and dexterity challenges, however all of the students in the group have benefited from help with their oral health, she adds.
She says the students were really engaged in Leo’s interactive presentation, and they continue to use the resources he left with them.
She would love to see the initiative continue and sees potential for it to rolled out to the wider school community.
“It would be beneficial for all students,” she says.