More than 90 children will learn about the importance of creating Healthy Lion Smiles during a special program at 9:45 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at Missouri Southern’s Lion Cub Academy.

“Proper dental hygiene is important at any age,” said Nikki Tappana, director of the Lion Cub Academy. “It’s very important to start healthy dental hygiene habits early.”

Students from the Dental Hygiene Department will visit classrooms to teach children about proper techniques for using their toothbrush and the long-term benefits of taking care of their teeth.

“Nikki reached out to our department to let us know the Missouri Department of Health has initiated a program to teach kids in Head Start about oral health,” said Stacie Scrivner, head of the Dental Hygiene Department. “We recently had our students and faculty work with the faculty and staff at the Lion Cub Academy to talk about cleanliness and infection control, and also donated products to them.”

Scrivner said the joint effort – offered as part of National Dental Hygiene Month – is also beneficial to students studying for a career in dental hygiene.

“Our students need to know how to start initiatives,” she said. “They need to learn how to reach out to different people in the community to see where we can help with the need.”

Located at 3600 Newman Road, the Lion Cub Academy offers a hands-on learning environment for early childhood education and teacher education students, helping them learn best educational practices and to develop appropriate curriculum. It provides care for children ages 1 to 6.