Worcester, MA., Oct 02, 2017
As part of a back-to-school effort to promote healthy teeth among Worcester youth, Massachusetts State Senator and Majority Leader Harriette Chandler today teamed up with elected leaders, Worcester Public Schools, and Kool Smiles to deliver more than 2,000 free toothbrushes to children at seven Worcester elementary schools.
The toothbrush donations included stops to Vernon Hill School, Elm Park Community, Goddard School of Science, Grafton Street, Canterbury Street Computer-Based Magnet, Lincoln Street, and Clark Street elementary schools, where area leaders talked with students about the importance of preventive dental care – such as daily brushing, flossing and eating nutritious foods – to keep teeth healthy and free of cavities.
School visits were conducted by State Senator Chandler; State Senator Moore; Representatives O'Day, Campanale, Mahoney, Keefe and Donohue; Superintendent Binienda; City Manager Augustus; and dental staff from Kool Smiles. Toothbrushes were donated by Kool Smiles, the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, and the Family Health Center of Worcester.
"The importance of early access to dental care and prevention education cannot be overstated," said Chandler. "Tooth decay is the leading chronic disease among children and can affect everything from a child's ability to eat, speak and concentrate in school to his or her employment prospects later in life. I'm grateful for providers like Kool Smiles who are making a positive difference in our local communities by expanding access to quality, affordable dental care and education throughout the state."
Chandler has long advocated for better dental healthcare access for underserved communities during her tenure in the Massachusetts legislature. She currently co-chairs the Prevention for Health Caucus as well as the Legislature's Oral Health Caucus.
"We're changing the way we think about health here in Worcester. Health is not just the absence of illness but about the wellness of the entire person. Dental health is an important part of the total wellness that we want for all of our city's residents, especially in our children," said Mayor Joseph M. Petty. "I want to thank Senator Chandler and Kool Smiles for helping our students start the healthy dental habits that will keep them healthy for a lifetime."
"We are most appreciative of Senator Chandler's support in securing a toothbrush for every child at these schools and to Kool Smiles for teaching our students the importance of dental hygiene," said Superintendent Maureen Binienda. "Good oral health care is essential to the health and wellbeing of our students and leads to improved student success."
Kool Smiles is a leading children's dental health provider in Massachusetts, with seven offices throughout the state. Kool Smiles dentists provide care to children and adults with almost any insurance plan, including State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), Medicaid and Tricare. Kool Smiles dentists regularly participate in local oral health education programs through partnerships with community leaders and organizations.
"Kool Smiles is thrilled to partner with Senator Chandler, a dental healthcare champion who understands the need for all Massachusetts families to have access to quality, affordable dental care," said Dr. Polly Boehnlein, Managing Dental Director for Kool Smiles. "Healthy smiles start with access to preventive dental care and education. We're happy to help make a positive impact through this partnership."