Dental hygiene students add flavour to SuperChefs at Fusion Festival

July 24, 2013

The lineup of performers at the Surrey Fusion Festival, the ultimate celebration of music, food and culture, had a dash of spice this year—Greg Chang DMD 1986 and his SuperChefs Cookery for Kids were on site at a booth and on the Safeway Celebrity Cooking Stage. UBC dental hygiene students joined them over the weekend event (July 20 to 21) adding a whole lot of flavour.

“The aim of SuperChefs is to target childhood obesity,” says Si-si Xu, a third-year dental hygiene student. She along with Sharan Flora (also a third-year student), Nora Tong (fourth-year student) and a recent graduate, Eric Mok BDSc 2013, provided oral hygiene instructions at the SuperChefs booth.

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Foods that tend to cause obesity happen to be the sugary, high empty-calorie foods (junk food, juice, pop, candy, non-dark chocolate) that also cause caries (cavities). Frequent snacking increases caries risk and can also lead to unhealthy weight-gain. “Some families may not be very aware of this, even though they might know sweets can cause cavities, so our aim is to raise this awareness for parents and kids,” Si-si says.

The dental hygiene team spoke about the health benefits of certain foods (e.g. cheese can neutralize acidic oral environments); which foods to eat less (candies and sweets); and the proper brushing techniques and the importance of brushing. They demonstrated brushing methods and encouraged children to show what they learned or how they brush and then offered tips on how to improve technique.

Toothbrushes were handed out if children participated in the brushing demonstrations and could answer some simple oral health questions. Apple balloons made a visual link to healthy natural fruits and good oral health.

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Dr. Greg, as he is affectionately known, created SuperChefs Cookery for Kids, a hands-on cooking program to teach children basic cooking skills and nutrition. The program regularly runs in camps in the Lower Mainland and at Starwood Hotels across North America. Students from UBC Dentistry often volunteer with the program.

Notable celebrity chefs alongside the team of SuperChefs staff and volunteers at the Safeway stage include: Andrew George (Gold Medal Olympic Chef); Victor Bongo (award winning chef); Wally Buono (BC Lions general manager, vice president of football operations); and Giulio Caravatta (BC Lions analyst).