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News Releases

DHEC Highlights Oral Health Puppet Show for National Children’s Dental Health Month

Feb. 20, 2024

COLUMBIA, S.C. – February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and the Department of Health and Environmental Control continues to raise awareness and reinforce beneficial oral health habits for families across South Carolina through the Oral Health Puppet Show.  

Students across the state are able to learn about taking care of their teeth and going to the dentist thanks to a long-standing partnership between DHEC’s Division of Oral Health, the Columbia Marionette Theater and the South Carolina Dental Association. This collaboration began in 2007, and the show has traveled across the state for more than 15 years, reaching hundreds of schools and more than 104,000 students.  

This year’s tour will visit more than 50 schools across the state during the month of February. The South Carolina Dental Association provides funding each year that supports the show being performed at no cost, reaching more than 10,000 students annually. This funding allows the show to travel across the state to areas that might not typically be reached.  

“With assistance from our partners, we are able to bring this show directly to students across the state,” said Mike Tredway, Director of DHEC’s Division of Oral Health. “The best part is that the children are laughing, learning and singing about going to the dentist. This approach helps reduce their dental anxiety as they see the characters relate to the dentist and his or her staff as friends and helpers, not as people to be feared.” 

The script for the show, which was carefully crafted with dental perspective and contains a healthy dose of humor, covers a wide range of preventive topics for children that we all need to remember including: 

  • Brush and clean between teeth twice daily 
  • Go to the dentist every six months 
  • Get dental sealants on permanent teeth 
  • Eat healthy foods and limit sugary foods and drinks 
  • Drink fluoridated water 

The Division of Oral Health also provides resource packets to each of these schools to support oral health education in the classroom. 

In many cases, the show may be one of the first times students hear about how drinking water with fluoride can strengthen their teeth or how getting dental sealants can protect them from decay.  

Since the establishment of the South Carolina Dental Practice Act 2003, DHEC has also coordinated a School-based Dental Prevention Program. Through public-private partnerships, DHEC works with dentists to provide preventive dental services, like dental sealants and fluoride varnish, to eligible children in public schools. 

For more information and resources, visit the DHEC’s Oral Health webpage



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