NEH students help with Dental Health Month project

— Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Teresa Wood Northeast Hamilton Elementary School collected over 300 toothbrushes for the Donate a Toothbrush drive during February's Dental Health Month. Some of the students who participated are (front row) Hayden Keene, Ariah Wagner, Jax Olson, Annelise Smith, Colten Betts and Jordan Betts; back row, Aaden Keene, Kinley Massman, Rosemary Chamness, Emma Wises, Ryan Oskvig and Jay Wiese.

BLAIRSBURG – To celebrate Dental Health Month, students and staff at Northeast Hamilton have collected over 300 toothbrushes for the Donate a Toothbrush campaign.

The Donate a Toothbrush effort began in 2011 by two New Jersey teenagers. Involved in community work since they were youngsters, Paige and Ashley Alenick realized that toothbrushes play an important part in a person’s health but many people take them for granted.

The young women have spoken before the United Nations 12th Youth Assembly on providing basic health prevention with the humble toothbrush.

In its first year, the program gathered over 21,500 toothbrushes. Last year, the total surpassed 68,000.

The toothbrush drive was part of February’s Dental Health Month at NEH, said School Nurse Cindi Sweedler.

“We have spent the whole month focusing on dental health education,” said Sweedler.

Some of the activities included dental exams and sealant for select classes provided by Hamilton County Public Health through cooperation with Webster County Public Health, a visit by Dr. Dan Scarrow of Jewell Family Dentistry for grades K-2 and a visit by Hamilton Public Health for Pre-K students.

The students enjoyed collecting the toothbrushes, said Sweedler.

“The kids really embraced the idea, knowing that they are helping other people,” said Sweedler.

She expressed her gratitude on behalf of the entire school to Delta Dental that provided a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss to every student and staff member.