Sharing Smiles Day Events are annual fun-filled, informative days where the attitudinal barriers between dental students and persons with special needs can be removed and positive relationships fostered.
The primary reasons for Sharing Smiles Days are:
- Provide opportunity for positive interactions: Many dentists and dental hygienists prefer not to treat persons with disabilities in their local clinics for reasons concerning a lack of comfort or familiarly. They claim that they do not feel comfortable caring for these individuals because they have never had prior interactions with persons with special needs.
- Gain comfort, confidence & familiarity: Very few Faculties of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene Programs across Canada offer first-hand interactions providing care for persons with special needs.
- To Educate, advocate and motivate: To bring awareness to both the lack of access to oral care that persons with special needs face, and the importance of oral health care as it relates to one’s overall health and quality of life. Educating all participants, volunteers, and caregivers that they can make a difference in the lives of this wonderful population.
- Sharing Smiles Days aim to deliver on OHTH’s three primary goals. (See Our Mission)
Details of the Day
Sharing Smiles Day includes:
- Carnival Morning: Every Sharing Smiles Day begins with a morning full of games, face painting and activities led and created by the respective dental students and volunteers from the OHTH chapter.
- Luncheon: Following the carnival morning, everyone gathers to sit down and enjoy a warm lunch together with keynote speakers and performances on stage.
- Dental Demonstrations & participation: The last component of the day with toothbrushes and toothpastes donated by Colgate, includes oral hygiene education and demonstrations led by licensed dentists and dental hygienists from the community. The dental students assist with providing one-on-one care and attention to each participant.
Sharing Smiles Day has undoubtedly grown from being an idea, to becoming a movement amongst dental and dental hygiene students, in the belief of a better future and universal access to oral health care for all individuals. It is through this dedication and commitment to our vision that we look forward to each New Year, and the promise of a brighter, happier and healthier future for all.
It is our hope at OHTH that Sharing Smiles Day continues to be an event where relationships are fostered between all groups. We aspire for the students to leave each event with a newfound sense of understanding, confidence and comfort with interacting with persons with special needs. Days like these are important to allow for the students an opportunity to see persons with special needs as individuals, who like everyone else, are in need of dental care.
You can make a difference
If you are interested in hosting a Sharing Smiles Day event in your community or are interested in volunteering or participating at an upcoming event, please contact us! (See Contact)