Emphasizing the importance of good oral habits at a young age is critical, says Linda Rasubala, DDS, PhD, a dentist and faculty member with Eastman Dental, part of Eastman Institute for Oral Health at UR Medicine.
That’s why each year she takes the time to coordinate an educational event for both the EIOH residents and The Children’s School at the University of Rochester Medical Center, a day care and preschool and kindergarten for 120 children up to age 6. Oral B sponsored the event and generously donated goodie bags with oral health products for the children and electric toothbrushes for the school’s teachers.
“One of my life’s mantras is captured by renowned life coach Anthony Robbins: ‘Life is a gift; it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more,’” said Dr. Rasubala.
“Giving back to the community is something that comes from within,” stated Dr. William Calnon, American Dental Association past president and Eastman Dental Center Foundation Board Chair. “It’s not that we do it because it’s the right thing to do. We do it because we want to do it. We reach out to the community far beyond our Eastman building to serve and make a difference in someone’s life.”
Some residents dressed in adult size toothpaste and toothbrush costumes, and carried a giant toothbrush made learning memorable and fun.
“The kids can’t wait to tell their parents about the life size toothpaste,” said Tiffany Van Auker, The Children’s School director. “The program that Eastman Dental provides each year is so well received by the parents. Not only because their children receive such a valuable learning experience, but because the kids enjoy using the new products they were given, which helps make brushing and flossing fun.”
VanAuker and the teachers look forward to the program because they know it makes a difference.
Dr. Rasubala put together various age-appropriate and interactive presentations; residents went into each classroom to deliver them and answer questions. The children were able to practice good brushing skills on a plastic tooth model, and share their new knowledge.
“We have a lot of kids from other countries that have different dental standards,” explained Danielle Silverman, a Pre-K teacher there. “Learning about cavity prevention and how to take care of their teeth at this young age is key.”
Leah Cornell, also a Pre-K teacher, agreed. “Our students, who are children of URMC faculty, staff or students, represent a wide range of multi-cultural backgrounds, traditions and food preferences. They really do remember the conversations about how healthy foods and not so healthy, or ‘sometimes’ foods, affect the teeth.”
“Education and access are key to changing the landscape of dental decay among children and adults,” said Eli Eliav, DMD, PhD, EIOH director, at a reception following the event. He thanked the residents for taking time to provide this and other types of community service, a longstanding, yet little -known priority for Eastman Dental.
“This event is an excellent example that shows how much we care and at the same time introduces more of what we do for our community,” added Dr. Malmstrom, director of the AEGD program and chair of the General Dentistry Department.
“I’m so thankful to Oral B for their generous support and to all the residents who enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to educate our next generation,” said Dr. Rasubala.