A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) student members of Students United with America’s Toothfairy (SUAT) will be providing oral health education and free dental supplies to groups of expectant and young mothers and their children at monthly events hosted by local Teen Outreach Pregnancy Services (TOPS). ATSU’s chapter of SUAT provides unique community outreach events solely committed to serving diverse, underserved, pediatric populations. The overall program goals are to find creative and effective ways to educate and motivate caregivers of infants between 12-30 months in practices that will promote positive oral health.
“Many of our events involve school districts in underserved communities, as well as partnerships within the health community. Our biggest partnership has been with TOPS, where we attend educational sessions for teenage parents to enhance their understanding of oral health, provide them with proper referrals, and distribute thousands of dollars in free dental supplies,” says third-year student and ATSU-SUAT founder, Cayla Ray.
ASDOH members of SUAT will educate participants on various topics such as appropriate tooth brushing practices, the importance of diet and sugar intake, regular and adequate dental visits, dental tooth eruption times, and fluoride usage.
“The most heartwarming part of each event is handing out goodie bags and watching the faces of the children light up. SUAT allows me to have a connection with my community that I would not have otherwise,” says second-year student and ATSU-SUAT President, Hanna Kingsley.
The program has been ongoing for nearly a year and ATSU-SUAT hopes to continue efforts into 2019 as well.