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NYU College of Dentistry and Oral Health America Kick-off "Smiles Across America" at NYC PS 130, Oct 31

NYU Team in Costume for Halloween to Provide Sealants for Third-Graders
New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) in partnership with Oral Health America, launched a new, in-school program, “Smiles Across America” (SAA) on Tuesday, October 31, 2006, at PS 130, in lower Manhattan, NYC. The program’s mission is to bring essential oral health services to New York children who would not otherwise have access to care. At the launch of the NYC SSA initiative, 24 children received over 80 tooth sealants – clear, plastic coatings applied to the biting surfaces of teeth to prevent decay -- free of charge.

“Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of children in this country,” said Dr. Richard I. Vogel, interim dean of the NYU College of Dentistry, “and as with most chronic infectious diseases, the poor are disproportionably affected. We are proud to partner with Oral Health America in their Smiles Across America program, which helps to fight untreated oral disease across the country. We are also very grateful to our program sponsors, Ronald McDonald House Charities® and Trident® and its parent company Cadbury Adams USA LLC, for their generous support, and to Pulpdent, for donating sealants.”

“We need to change the prevailing attitude that we have solved the problem of children’s oral health, when in fact, according to the Surgeon General, it is a hidden epidemic, said Dr. Robert Klaus, president of Oral Health America, “Sealants are effective and they are dentistry’s hidden secret. The secret has got to end.”

In New York City, where only 12 percent of children are reported to have sealants compared to 30 percent upstate, the need is especially critical.

“It is our goal to provide sealants for over 700 children, over 2,800 sealants, through this program throughout the six schools we adopt this year,” said Dr Amir Moursi, chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at NYUCD. “We intend this to be a long-standing commitment, coming back to the same schools year after year to follow-up and make sure the sealants we did place are checked, adjusted, and replaced if necessary.”

Mr. Luis Reyes, Health Policy Director for the Office of Councilmember Alan J. Gerson, noted, “Prevention is much better than treatment and I would hope that this sealant program could be expanded to several other schools where we have a high proportion of uninsured children who can benefit from the objectives of the SAA program.”

Speaking on behalf of the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Assistant Commissioner Joyce Weinstein said, “We champion greatly this type of public and private collaboration between New York University College of Dentistry and Oral Health America and the private sponsors, which will allow the City of New York to maximize our resources and provide dental services to the greatest number of underserved children. “We look forward to working with all of you to target and design innovative approaches and interventions that will have the greatest benefit and maximize the impact on children’s health in New York City.”

Editors Note:

Founded in 1865, New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) is the third oldest and the largest dental school in the United States, educating more than 8 percent of all dentists. NYUCD has a significant global reach and provides a level of national and international diversity among its students that is unmatched by any other dental school.

Oral Health America, founded in 1955, develops, implements, and facilitates educational and service programs designed to raise awareness of oral health's importance to total health. Smiles Across America (SAA), is the first nationwide campaign to coordinate schools, governments, care providers, and corporate and community partners in the fight against tooth decay. SAA incorporates disease prevention and health promotion services and community organizing to create sustainable, successful models for school-based or school-linked care.

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