By the University at Buffalo
Before lunchtime on Wednesday, University at Buffalo dental faculty and students will visit nearly 15,000 children in more than 100 schools across Western New York as part of the 23rd annual Smile Education Day.
Organized by the UB Smile Team and School of Dental Medicine, the event teaches children about the importance of dental hygiene, proper nutrition and the effects of sugar, and the connection between oral hygiene and overall health.
Scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Feb. 24, hundreds of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and dental students from UB and local communities will visit students in grades three through five to deliver oral health presentations and offer career guidance on becoming a dentist.
This year, the program will expand to include more than 400 3- and 4-year-old children attending Holy Cross Head Start preschool programs. Dental residents will also travel to Burgard Vocational High School to create custom mouth guards for student athletes.
"It's important for the dental school to lead the way in delivering the message about the importance of good oral hygiene and the link to overall health in our community," said Deborah Licata, outreach coordinator in the department of pediatric and community dentistry.
Smile Education Day, which coincides with Children's National Dental Health Month, is one of more than 400 community outreach events the UB Smile Team participates in each year.