UK students in national program to educate kids about oral health

A University of Kentucky undergraduate dental group was recently spotlighted by the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation for their passion to share oral-health education with elementary and middle schools in Kentucky, according to a UK news release.

UK Students United with America’s ToothFairy was founded in 2014 and is made up of more than 100 UK undergraduates interested in dentistry, who are also part of the UK Pre-Dental Society.

The America’s ToothFairy® program is the branch of the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation that works to prevent childhood dental disease through community-based prevention, education and treatment services.

“At a young age, these children can lose and permanently damage their teeth,” Nabeela Rahman, a first-year UK College of Dentistry student and former UKPDS president, said in the release. “Being able to help these children, even slightly, was a very rewarding experience for me.”

Already this year, UK’s SUAT chapter has held six community outreach events reaching more than 500 students, targeting schools in Lexington and some rural Kentucky areas. It is considered one of the largest and more active chapters in the nation, the release says.

At each event, SUAT members share oral health and nutrition information and demonstrate proper tooth brushing and flossing. They also share information about the effects of tobacco on oral health and send the students home with toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children and adolescents ages 6 to 19, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And a 2001 Kentucky oral health survey found that 29 percent of third- and sixth-grade students screened had untreated tooth decay and 75 percent had not seen a dentist in more than a year, according to the release.

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