BUGSDM offers free dental health fair for at-risk Boston children

in BU In the Community, Goldman School of Dental Medicine, News Releases
February 18th, 2009

Contact: Jackie Rubin, 617/638-4892 | jackier@bu.edu

The dining room at Boston women’s shelter Rosie’s Place was buzzing February 17 with the sound of children as young as age one-and-one-half learning that taking care of their teeth is not only important, but also fun.

Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine (BUGSDM) set up an interactive dental health fair at the shelter as part of National Children’s Dental Health Month and the School’s daily commitment to offering excellent health care services to the community.

The children received “dental passports” to guide them through each of the fair’s six dental-themed stations, including: brushing and flossing, the negative effects of tobacco on oral health, tooth protectors, the importance of regular dental visits, what teeth are used for, and the importance of eating healthy for good oral health. At the end of the tour they received a goody bag full of prizes and, of course, a toothbrush and toothpaste.

At the tooth protector station, fourth-year DMD student Chelsea Deutscher guided one-and-one-half-year-old Marlyna Riopelle in an experiment demonstrating the importance of dental sealants. They covered two walnuts, one with a dental sealant and one without, in a junk food-like mixture and then tried to brush off the bad food. The sealed walnut easily came clean, while the junk food stuck to the unsealed walnut.

Marlyna attended the fair with her sister, eight-year-old Justina, and two brothers, five-year-old Damien and three-year-old Jayden.

BUGSDM Oral Health Promotion Coordinator Kathy Lituri thought of the idea for the fair during a previous BUGSDM event at Rosie’s Place. Lituri noticed a flyer demonstrating a need for children’s programs at the shelter and set out to come up with a way BUGSDM could help.

“The dental health fair is designed to be interactive and age appropriate for the children,” says Lituri. “It is such a great experience for both the dental students and the children that BUGSDM is planning to host four health fairs per year at Rosie’s Place, one per season.”

The event is just one of more than 30 programs through which BUGSDM provides free oral health care and education to the Massachusetts children and families annually.

The mission of Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine is to provide excellent education to dental professionals throughout their careers; to shape the future of dental medicine and dental education through research; to offer excellent health care services to the community; to participate in community activities; and to foster a respectful and supportive environment.

Fourth-year dental student Chelsea Deutscher shows one-and-a-half-year-old Marlyna Riopelle how junk food sticks to teeth
Fourth-year dental student Chelsea Deutscher shows one-and-a-half-year-old Marlyna Riopelle how junk food sticks to teeth

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