“Lessons in a Lunch Box: Healthy Teeth Essentials & Facts About Snacks™” is an oral health literacy program designed to empower children and their families with the proper knowledge about routine dental care, oral health maintenance, good dietary choices and more using a “dentally designed” lunch box. The uniquely crafted lunch container illustrates flossing and brushing on the inside. My Pyramid for Kids, a USDA nutritional diagram is also displayed on the inside of the box. The lunch box provides children with their very own “Dental Care in a Carrot” case along with a colorful sand timer. The carrot case is designed to include a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and a rinse cup. The outside of the lunch box is decorated on all five sides. The front, “Lessons in a Lunch Box: Healthy Teeth Essentials & Facts About Snacks™” label is proudly underscored featuring the logos of organized dentistry. The back highlights the logos of the generous sponsors. The 56 US dental schools are documented on the left side, flanked by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) website. There is a name identification label on the right side. Finally, and quite possibly of the most far-reaching benefit, a reflective, metallic sticker, designed to resemble a smile, that reads, “See Yourself Becoming A Dentist,” located at the opening. Teachers receive a five-day lesson plan to support the initiative. The students will be provided with lesson sheets and follow-up information about good nutritional habits, proper dental health and other important reminders including: “Smoking is not a healthy thing to do”, “Brushing after every meal is important for you”, “Too many sweet candies can fill your teeth with icky, sticky goo”, “Never use anyone else’s toothbrush”, “You will get their mouth germs too”, “Piercing your lip or tongue with jewelry can be a very dangerous thing to do”, “Grills and gold’s and fronts can be difficult to view and they can destroy your teeth too”. The Lessons in A Lunch Box Program serves to remind children and parents to include the delightfully, educational and very orange lunch box as a part of their child’s daily routine. This now learned and self-empowered behavior becomes an enjoyed life-style that is regularly practiced by families. Information obtained from The Maryland Children’s Oral Health Institute.
• Objective 1: Motivate children and parents to take ownership of their own oral health through good nutrition and good dental habits.
• Objective 2: How to use the Lessons in a Lunch Box: Healthy Teeth Essentials & Facts About Snacks™ in a school setting.
• Objective 3: Encourage students to consider dental professions as a career.
Virginia Reyna-Walling is a Registered Dental Hygienist who is passionate about meeting the dental needs of the underserved in her community and the Hispanic population in her district. She is a native of Nampa, Idaho, graduating in 1981. She received her certificate for dental assisting in 1983 and worked as a dental assistant for eight years while pursuing her education in Dental Hygiene. During this time, she married, had a son and graduated from American Institute in 2001, with an AAS in Dental Hygiene. She worked in a general dental practice in Caldwell for five years and has since worked at Southwest District Health for 15 years. She is an active member in the Idaho Oral Health Alliance. Virginia served on the Board of Directors at Terry Reilly Health from 2011-2017. She is licensed in both Idaho and Oregon. She enjoys working out, cooking and baking, and jazz music, as well as spending time with her family and friends.