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Dental students to share smiles with special guests

April 7, 2017 — 

More than 100 Manitobans with special needs have been invited to enjoy activities and brush up on oral health at the fourth annual Sharing Smiles Day on Saturday, April 8 at the University of Manitoba’s Bannatyne campus.

Sharing Smiles is a fun educational event put on by the Winnipeg chapter of Oral Health, Total Health, a national non-profit organization. The chapter is led by students from the U of M College of Dentistry, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

Dentistry and dental hygiene students volunteer at Sharing Smiles to raise awareness of oral health among those with disabilities and their care providers, give back to the community, and increase their own comfort and confidence to work effectively with all kinds of patients.

People with special needs often face barriers to accessing dental care and oral-health education, organizers say. At the same time, dentists and hygienists often lack knowledge and confidence to deliver the most appropriate care to this underserved community.

“Sharing Smiles brings people with special needs together with future dental professionals to foster comfort and caring for both groups,” says Israa Elgazzar, a second-year dentistry student and member of the organizing committee. “We emphasize the ‘sharing’ aspect because there’s so much positive interaction that benefits both groups.”

From 10 a.m. to noon, guests will enjoy games and activities led by dentistry and dental hygiene students, as well as taking part in demonstrations of oral care and receiving dental gift bags.

From noon to 1 p.m., guests and volunteers will have lunch and hear guest speakers Dr. Chris Cottick, a local dentist who has worked with people with special needs, and Shauna McGregor, a dental hygienist who practises at St. Amant through the U of M’s Centre for Community Oral Health.

 Who: Persons with disabilities and U of M dentistry
& dental hygiene students

What: Sharing Smiles Day 2017

When: Saturday, April 8, 2017, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Brodie Centre Atrium, 727 McDermot Ave.,
University of Manitoba Bannatyne Campus

For more information contact Alison Mayes, Communications Officer, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, at 204-789-3828 or alison [dot] mayes [at] umanitoba [dot] ca.

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