Harvard dental student recipient of health literacy essay contest

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An essay on community water fluoridation yielded a Harvard University dental student a first-place win in the annual American Dental Association’s Health Literacy in Dentistry essay contest.

Emily Chen, of the Harvard University School of Dental Medicine, was the first-place winner for her essay “Water That’s Good for Your Teeth.” This year’s essay topic, community water fluoridation, honors the 75th anniversary of community water fluoridation.

Ms. Chen’s winning essay, printed in its entirety on MouthHealthy.org, comes with a $500 prize.

 “We know through so many years of studying community water fluoridation that it is both safe for your body and great for your teeth. Studies have not found [harm] associated with the levels of fluoride found in communities with water fluoridation,” Ms. Chen wrote.

The first runner-up was Andrea Tsatalis of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry for her essay, “Oral Health On Tap: Community Water Fluoridation.” She received $250.

The second runner-up was Rebecca Salustri of the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine for her essay “Community Water Fluoridation: What You Need to Know.” She also received $250.

The contest is part of the efforts of the ADA’s National Advisory Committee for Health Literacy in Dentistry through the ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention.