Third annual Sharing Smiles Day to promote oral health for people with special needs


SSDIn an attempt to educate and improve oral health care for people with special needs, the Montreal chapter of Oral Health Total Health (OHTH), will be hosting its third annual Sharing Smiles Day event in Montreal. Headed by Natalie Arshat and Kristin Sani, the event will be held on April 19, 2015 at the Miriam Home.

“As health care providers, it is within our duty to extend oral health awareness to all aspects of society, regardless of socioeconomic status or mental and physical abilities. The earlier we begin engaging, the sooner we gain social responsibility and the better we are able to serve the community in the future,” says Natalie Arshat, DMD III student.

Each year OHTH holds the Sharing Smiles Day Events. This annual event is a day filled with games and activities, but also educational sessions for people living in our communities with special needs. The primary reasons for Sharing Smiles Day are:
1 – Provide opportunity for positive interactions between dentists, hygienists and patients. Many dentists are hesitant to treat persons with disabilities as they are not comfortable caring for these individuals, due to lack of exposure.
2 – Gain comfort, confidence and familiarity with persons with special needs.
3 – To educate, advocate and motivate all participants, volunteers and caregivers to both the lack of access to oral care that persons with special needs face and the importance of oral health care in overall health.

This fun filled informative day will be led by McGill dental students. The day begins with activities that promote positive engagement between students and participants followed by an interactive demonstration on oral hygiene led by third year dental students. For three years in a row, Miriam Home has hosted OHTH and gathered participants from the Montreal community to attend. Last year there was 25 participants and 30 volunteers.

“Sharing Smiles Day is something that is really special to Natalie and I,” says Kristin Sani. “The McGill community has been very supportive of our initiatives and we’d like to thank all of those who have assisted us in making this day possible.”

OHTH is a Non-Profit Organisation led by students and faculty from Dentistry schools across the country. The organisation was established by a University of Toronto student with the mission to advocate, educate and improve oral health care for people with special needs. Its goal is to create awareness and exposure to people with special needs amongst health care providers when they are learning, so that they will continue to treat these patients throughout their careers.

For more information or to learn how to support Sharing Smiles Day or OHTH you can visit their website.

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