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FLORA and FLOPPY GOES TO THE DENTIST

MARY KENYON JONES: Flora and Floppy is an interactive puppet show for children ages 4 to 8. The Columbia Marionette Theatre did a fabulous job of incorporating humor and fun and music into the puppet show to help children, really engage them so that they don’t even realize they are learning about some key oral health messages that they need to know. They leave the show with some messages and information about healthy eating, about going to the dentist, about brushing their teeth, about drinking fluoridated water, about the value of dental sealants. It really gets our messages that we try to convey across in a way that is fun and lively for them and very, very interactive. This is obviously a unique initiative and one that we feel very strongly about in the Division of Oral Health.

FLORA PUPPET: (singing) “Going to the dentist isn’t scary, going to the dentist it’s a very good thing to do, so...” (music fades).

JOHN SCALLON: My name is John Scallon. I am Executive Director at the Columbia Marionette Theatre. I am also the creator and primary puppeteer for Flora and Floppy Go to the Dentist which is a wonderful dental health puppet show that was co-sponsored by the DHEC’s Oral Health Division and the South Carolina Dental Association. This show has really been effective for reaching out to kids at a real early age where they are really first supposed to be starting to be aware of the dental health message and that they need to brush their teeth and go to the dentist and things like that. It’s designed primarily for about 3- to 6-year-old kids and a lot of times not only is this their first exposure to dental health in a fun way, a lot of times it’s their first exposure to puppetry and performance all together.

DENTIST PUPPET: (talking to children) “...do you brush your teeth twice a day? Yes?” (children respond by nodding heads) “ ...good...good” (fades away)

MARY KENYON JONES: Probably the best way to continue this initiative is for us to look for sponsorships and for additional funding so that the show can go to even more schools across the state. Currently the show has traveled to 40 schools and Head Start centers across the state. We’re hoping to increase that and to eventually reach all elementary schools and all Head Start centers across the state. But we can’t do that alone. We need individuals within their local communities or larger organizations that feel just as strongly about oral health as we do to join us and get on board and inquire about how they can continue this initiative for us.