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Kids play 'Dentists For a Day' in Boston elementary school

Boston—Blackstone Elementary School's third-grade class donned lab coats and masks June 10 and became "Dentists For a Day" at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

It's just one way the dental school is educating kids about oral health care while stimulating interest in dental careers.

"The goal is for these young students to learn that a career in dentistry or the health sciences is something they can achieve," said Kathy Lituri, BUGSDM oral health program coordinator. "The field trip also helps students get in the habit of taking care of their oral health early, so they are less likely to have problems as they get older."

Included among the day's activities was a hands-on project designed to show how a sealed tooth repels food. Kids applied a junk food mixture representing food and bacteria to walnuts that represented teeth—with sealants and without—then brushed the mixture away.

The dental school pays annual visits to Blackstone Elementary as part of the Smart Smiles oral health initiative that provides free oral health education, screenings and sealants to children in Boston Public Schools.

The Goldman School of Dental Medicine also offers three pipeline programs for underrepresented minorities and economically disadvantaged students to increase their chances of acceptance into and success in dental school.