News Release

April 20, 2007

Contact: Carolyn Pennington, 860-679-4864

Dental Students Help Give Hartford Children Healthy Smiles

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Hundreds of Hartford school children will learn the importance of oral hygiene thanks to students at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. The dental students, members of the American Student Dental Association, will be visiting second and third graders in six of Hartford’s public schools Tuesday, April 24.

“We will be teaching the kids how important it is to take care of their teeth every day,” said third-year dental student Lauren Adair. “Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood and too many kids don’t get the treatment they need. Hopefully we can help these kids get on the right track.”

The dental students will be visiting classrooms at Noah Webster MicroSociety Magnet School, Breakthrough Magnet School, Dr. James H. Naylor Elementary School, West Middle School, Mary M. Hooker Environmental Studies Magnet School, and M.D. Fox Elementary School.

The program is ASDA’s single largest community service project and is UConn’s contribution to national Give Kids A Smile Day. The annual event was created by the American Dental Association and was designed to provide education, preventative and restorative care to low-income children who do not have access to care. The national Give Kids A Smile Day was February 2; however, the school’s academic calendar forced UConn ASDA to initiate their own day. “We are students first, so we unfortunately couldn’t participate in the national event,” said Beth Cipes, a third-year dental student. “Because ASDA is committed to the community, we decided we would do our own day.”

The UConn ASDA students will teach the children how to brush and floss properly, how important it is to see a dentist twice a year, and the proper diet to avoid tooth decay. “Tooth decay is a preventable disease,” says Tim Levine, third-year dental student. “A child that learns how to brush and take care of his teeth now is that much less likely to have cavities and is more likely to take care of his teeth for the rest of his life.” Levine adds the highlight of the day for the kids is when, while describing visits to the dentist, they dress up one child from each class in a white coat, masks, gloves, and goggles.

The American Student Dental Association is a student run organization based in Chicago. Each dental school in the country has a chapter that organizes community service projects, social events and legislative advocacy for dental students.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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