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Greater New York Smiles

Volunteers provide screening, education during dental meeting

New York—The Greater New York Smiles program is gearing up for its fifth dental education and screening program for New York City public schoolchildren Nov. 26-28.

Image: GNY Smiles in action: New York City Public School children line up to have their teeth checked at the Greater New York Dental Meeting in 2011.
GNY Smiles in action: New York City Public School children line up to have their teeth checked at the Greater New York Dental Meeting in 2011.

The 2012 Greater New York Smiles, held in conjunction with the Greater New York Dental Meeting, will see about 1,500 children from throughout the city’s five boroughs who will be bussed to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Hundreds of volunteers—dentists, dental hygienists, and students from the greater New York area—will lead participants through an interactive oral health tutorial that focuses on good oral health habits, healthy diet and brushing and flossing demonstrations. After these tutorials, the children are able to practice their brushing techniques with the supervision of dental hygiene students at plumbed sinks with running water constructed right outside the convention center floor.

Staff dentists from the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures mobile dental van will perform examinations and provide children with a dental report card and a knapsack kids can fill with their goodie bag items: a toothbrush and toothpaste, a dental floss keychain, a notebook, crayons and an oral health care coloring book, pencils with tooth and toothbrush shaped erasers, a pencil case, a marble notebook and a timer. “This program offers our children free oral health care education, a dental screening and referral service which they might not otherwise be receiving,” said Dr. Richard Rausch, general chairman of the GNYDM.

Image: Interactive teaching: Each year the GNY Smiles Program recruits volunteers who are eager to help teach the children of New York City about proper oral health care.
Interactive teaching: Each year the GNY Smiles Program recruits volunteers who are eager to help teach the children of New York City about proper oral health care. Photos courtesy GNYDM
“The Greater New York Smiles gives back to the community without asking for anything in return,” said Dr. Robert Edwab, executive director of the GNYDM.  “It offers a unique clinical aspect to urban dental and hygiene students while bringing an awareness of dental access issues in New York City to oral health care volunteers, teachers and chaperoning parents who travel with the children to the Javits Convention Center.”

Log on to the United Federation of Teacher’s website, www.uft.org/videos/students-greater-dental-meeting for a short video clip about GNY Smiles.