Howard Dentistry Shows 325 Kids Importance of Oral Care

WASHINGTON –The Howard University College of Dentistry opened its doors to 325 Washington public school children on Feb. 6, for "Give Kids A Smile Day," an annual event that addresses their critical oral health needs and breaks down barriers to dental care for their families.

Children ranging from pre-kindergarteners to fifth-graders filled the College of Dentistry lobby before heading upstairs for individual cleanings, X-rays, extractions and other dental care services. The payoff: smiles and happy faces.

The program is a collaboration involving the Howard University College of Dentistry, the District of Columbia Dental Society, the American Dental Association (ADA) and the District of Columbia Public School System.

Brianne Nadeau, councilmember for Ward 1 in the District, commended the collaborative effort. The College of Dentistry has participated in Give Kids A Smile Day program since its inception in 2003.

"This is a tremendous partnership and an incredible opportunity to provide much needed preventative dental care to kids who otherwise wouldn't be getting that care," Nadeau said.

Messiah Montgomery, a Simon Elementary School first-grader who patiently waited his turn to meet with a dental hygienist, said, "I like to go to the dentist because it's fun."

Jamal Lewis, a pre-kindergartener from Simon, shared the sentiment: "I like to go to the dentist because they help you clean your teeth. I like the tools that they have."

Felix Vincent, a Howard University pediatric dental resident, said the program is an effective way to demonstrate why oral hygiene is so important.

"I think it's great, what the ADA is doing, especially for kids -- getting them treatment, getting them looked at, and hopefully, getting their parents involved in the long run," he said. "Obviously, education is among one of the most important things."

The national program was started by the ADA to provide dental care and raise awareness of the importance of access to dental care for underserved children. This year, the program was expected to serve an estimated 350,000 children nationwide at more than 1,500 Give Kids a Smile Day events.

For more information, contact Sholnn Freeman, senior communications & marketing specialist, Howard University, 202-865-3518 or

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