Since opening over 17 years ago, EdVenture Children’s Museum, located in Columbia, Hartsville and Myrtle Beach, has welcomed over 3 million visitors with a mission to inspire children and youth to experience the joy of learning. At the center of the museum’s health education programming is the importance of proper oral hygiene and dental care. To better share the message that oral health is a crucial part of maintaining overall health, EdVenture began a partnership with the South Carolina Dental Association in 2006.
The SCDA supports EdVenture through funding for targeted programming aimed at educating the importance of a healthy smile and by coordinating dentists to provide dental screenings throughout the year. At just one of these events, the museum’s annual “Countdown to Kindergarten” program held in August, up to 2,500 visitors attend where children up to age 12 have the opportunity to receive free screenings for common oral health problems. As part of the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program, these volunteer dentists will then provide referrals to help connect children with dentists in their area for regular visits.
Oral Health messages are incorporated in health related exhibits and programs including cooking classes and discussing which foods are healthy for teeth. Hands-on labs are planned where children can join in live science experiments to learn how fluoride treatment works and make their own toothpaste. Puppet shows, performed by The Columbia Marionette Theatre and in collaboration with SCDA and the South Carolina DHEC, prepare children for dental appointments by offering an engaging, imaginary visit to a dental office. Most of these programs are duplicated at EdVenture’s satellite locations in Hartsville and Myrtle Beach to get the oral health message out statewide.
“The SCDA has been a wonderful partner of EdVenture Children’s Museum for nearly 15 years. As one of our longest sustaining partnerships, we have hosted many events and programs together, allowing us to reach countless families and promote the importance of oral health. We are thankful for all of the support SCDA has given us over the years, and we look forward to continuing this close relationship into the next generation of oral health professionals,” says Kathie Williams, RN, DrPH, and Health and Safety Advisor at EdVenture.
About the South Carolina Dental Association: Established in 1869, the South Carolina Dental Association (SCDA) is a non-profit association that currently represents and serves 2,000 Member Dentists in South Carolina. They are a leader in the promotion of oral health care excellence and the advancement of the profession of dentistry in South Carolina. For more information about SCDA, please visit www.scda.org. You can also stay up-to-date by following SCDA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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