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Boy Scouts of America Dentistry Merit Badge

What is the Dentistry Merit Badge?

Merit badges are part of the Boy Scout advancement program. There are more than 130 merit badges currently, and the dentistry badge is one of them. The dentistry merit badge is earned when a boy scout performs all of the requirements of the badge and shows proficiency in the area of study.

When a boy scout shows an interested in earning the dentistry merit badge, he is given the contact information for approved and certified counselors for dentistry.  Merit badge counselors are people who have special knowledge in their merit badge subjects and are interested in helping boy scouts learn and advance. With the help and guidance of the counselor, the boy scout can earn the badge.

Who becomes a merit badge counselor?

To become a merit badge counselor, one must show evidence that they are highly educated and experienced in their particular area of interest. For the dentistry badge, it is likely that counselors will be either dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, or specialists in the dental profession.

Because counselors work closely with boy scouts, they must consent to a background check, provide personal and professional references, and become trained on youth protection. Counselors also agree to safely work with scouts under the strict rules and guidelines set by the Boy Scouts of America.

What does earning the dentistry merit badge require?

The dentistry merit badge consists of 7 sections. The requirements to earn the badge cover tooth and oral anatomy and accurately reading dental radiographs. Scouts must learn the cause and progression of dental decay and gum disease. Emergency dental treatment and the negative effects of tobacco on oral health are also covered.

Scouts earning the badge will meet with a dentist as part of the requirements and identify with know-how the different instruments and pieces of equipment used in the dental office clinic. Badge applicants also keep a dietary record to determine what foods can cause tooth decay as well as learn about the benefits of fluorides and the role that saliva and enzymes take in aiding digestion.

To exhibit their aptitude in the subject area, scouts will make a model of a tooth and demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques.  Additionally, badge candidates will create a dental disease prevention poster board or make a drawing reflecting the progression of dental decay and discuss dental restorations and procedures. Other options are to collect dental product advertisements and discuss the accuracy of the ads or write a story for a school or local paper about oral health concerns, including those caused by tobacco use.

Where can I find more information about the dentistry merit badge or counselors?

The Boy Scouts of America website that provides information on how boys can become scouts, how boy scouts can earn their dentistry merit badge, and how interested persons can become merit badge counselors in their area of expertise or interest.

In addition, Grand Dental Group offers certified dentistry merit badge counselors for boy scouts in the greater Chicagoland area and its surrounding and far suburbs.

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