This February, 59 students from T.O. Smith Elementary School in Ogden received a whole lot of love from students at Weber State University, in the form of freshly cleaned teeth, protective sealants, and checkups to address other dental problems.
“It’s a win-win for everyone in the community,” said Tanner Koons, United Way’s Family and Youth Specialist at T.O. Smith and organizer of the dental cleanings. “Not only do our students and families get more information about dental hygiene, but also the students at Weber State have the chance to practice their skills and give back to the community.” Dental services were offered to all students in first through third grade, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Overall, students in the Weber State dental program provided 82 sealants, found 140 cavities, and referred 46 students to a dental clinic for extensive work. It’s hard to concentrate on school when you have tooth pain every time you move your jaw. Many families don’t have dental insurance, and often a trip to the dentist doesn’t seem as important as putting food on the table or paying bills.
However, unaddressed dental problems can lead to much more expensive and damaging consequences down the road, such as root canals and tooth loss. Not only will sealants on their teeth prevent future cavities, but the kids also got some lessons in dental hygiene. Each student went home with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a commitment to take good care of their teeth.
Thank you to all who helped organize this event, and thanks to Weber State for providing the time, resources, and skills to help kids in our community smile a little brighter.