April 2016…As third year dental students at the University of Pennsylvania, we had the privilege of working with Healthy NewsWorks as part of our Community Oral Health Honors Project.
We gave “press conferences” about dental health in six elementary and middle schools in Philadelphia and Norristown. The time we spent with the reporters proved to be both refreshing and rewarding.
The reporters started the interview with prepared questions about oral hygiene habits, tooth decay, and visits to the dentist. They then peppered us with spontaneous follow-up questions such as: “How many teeth do humans have? Did you always want to be a dentist? How does sugar cause tooth decay? Do braces always straighten teeth?”
As the reporters became enthusiastic about the many facets of their teeth, the questions kept rolling. While a goal of ours was to teach children about the importance of oral health, how they can take care of their teeth, and how their oral health is related to their overall systemic health, an equally important ambition was to inspire the next generation of students.
While we watched the reporters take pride in their questions and articulate speaking, we envisioned future leaders. With hard work, dedication, and a dream, any boy or girl can become an athlete, teacher, nurse, or maybe even a dentist.
—By JV Kracke and Jack Davies