Oral Health, Total Health (OHTH) is a non-profit organization with various chapters across Canada, with the goal of giving dental health care student and professionals the chance to advocate, educate, and improve the oral health care of persons with special needs. McGill Dentistry has proudly participated in OHTH’s annual “Sharing Smiles Day” for the past 8 years. The event is held in association with the Miriam Home and Services and it aims to improve the oral health of people with special needs, removing any existing attitudinal barriers, and raising awareness.
“Sharing Smiles Day” is a half-day filled with many fun activities, lunch, and an educational oral health information session. This year’s event included around 25 participants, 8 instructors, and 23 student volunteers. Participants can unwind and have fun by going through stations of activities, some of which include music, sports, yoga, arts and crafts, dancing, and educational board games. The participants loved singing along to songs such as Hey Jude, and Mamma Mia alongside our talented volunteers playing the guitar. They also enjoyed dancing to their choice of music and stretching at our yoga station. They then enjoyed lunch alongside the volunteers and instructors. Afterwards, participants were split into small groups and taught fun strategies on maintaining a healthy oral hygiene using dentoforms and cardboard models of teeth made by dental students!
With the amazing help of the volunteers and instructors, we were able to deliver another successful event at Miriam Home. “Sharing Smiles Day” is a very special event for McGill dental students, since it gives us the opportunity to not only break the existing stigma around providing care for these members of the community but also allows us to provide oral health information in a more pleasant and approachable setting. Seeing the participants engaged in the hands-on information sessions and eager to learn about oral health, is a really rewarding experience for us students. It allows us to understand the power of simply reaching out to the members of the community with difficulty accessing care and sharing our knowledge. “Sharing Smiles Day” not only put on a smile on all of the volunteers and participants faces with the fun-filled activities, but it will hopefully continue to spread the importance of healthy smiles in the special needs population!
Visit our Facebook page to see all the photos from the day!