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Office of Oral Health Newsletter

Proper Nutrition Equals Good Oral Health

In This Issue
Community Spotlights
Upcoming Events and Trainings
Quick Links
Check out our Oral Health Resource Brochure, now available in the following languages: 



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September/October 2011


Dear Friends,


This is the Lucky Number 7(th) editition of the BPHC Office of Oral Health newsletter! 
This newsletter centers on the ways nutrition can positively impact one's oral health, as well as proper dental hygiene techniques in light of September's "National 5-A-Day Nutrition Month" and October's "National Dental Hygiene Month". Scroll forward to view the Office of Oral Health's news and outreach updates, helpful links, as well as upcoming oral health conferences and trainings!

If your program or organization has any updates or event information you would like to share, please email our office at oralhealth@bphc.org.

News and Updates 

New Resource and Informational Brochures Now Available! 

The Office of Oral Health is excited to share 4 new brochures! The first is a Vietnamese translation of our Oral Health Resource Brochure where City of Boston residents can find low-cost dental care (see additional languages in the left Quick Links section).


The following brochures are to guide youth, adults, and elders on What to Expect at Your Dental Visit! Please feel free to print and distribute as needed. Check them out today!



[Child-English]             [Adult-English]             [Elder-English]

[Child-Spanish]            [Adult-Spanish]            [Elder-Spanish]


Keep on the Lookout!

The Office of Oral Health will be distributing oral health supplies & educational materials, and answering any oral health-related questions at the Martha Eliot Community Health Fair on September 24th from 11am-2pm. We hope to see you there!

New Oral Health Team Members

Please join us in welcoming the two new members of the Office of Oral Health team, Estela Stevanovic and Julianne Ward!

Estela Stevanovic is an intern from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She is working towards a degree in Dental Hygiene graduating in December 2011. Estela also holds a DMD degree from San Martin de Porres University in Lima, Peru. Her work includes over six years of experience in oral health and community leadership.

Julianne Ward is an intern from Wheelock College School of Social Work. She recently graduated from Clemson University with a degree in Sociology and is now pursuing her Masters in Social Work at Wheelock College. Julianne has also volunteered at many different social work facilities during her undergraduate degree at Clemson.


New Communities Putting Prevention to Work Obesity Prevention Initiative Public Service Announcement
On September 6, 2011, the Boston Public Health Commission Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Division released a new media campaign through television, print, and radio to encourage parents to reduce the amount of sugary beverages in their children's diet. Messages on this new campaign stress the connection between sugar sweetened beverages and tooth decay! View the English (left) and Spanish (right) commercials by clicking the images below! To see the recently released BPHC 'Fat Smack' PSA that focus on obesity and type 2 diabetes, click here.










Better Oral Health for Massachusetts Coalition 2011 Annual Meeting

You are invited to attend the Better Oral Health for Massachusetts Coalition's 2011 Annual Meeting on October 20th from 8:30am-2:30pm at the Hoagland Pincus Conference Center in Shrewsbury. If you have not registered, please do so HERE. If you have questions, please contact Molly Lauria, Better Oral Health for Massachusetts Coalition, info@massoralhealth.org, 617-624-5548.

Outreach Updates 

            AIDS Action Committee Presentation

On June 27, 2011, the Office of Oral Health gave an HIV & Oral Health presentation to 37 women from the AIDS Action Committee's Monthly Women's Peer Support Group. The presentation focused on the systemic effects of poor oral health, the impact recreational drug use has on the oral cavity, and the oral manifestations of HIV. Information on low-cost resources for dental care such as the BPHC HIV Dental Ombudsperson Program, local dental and dental hygiene schools, and community health centers were also distributed.

 BAHEC Youth to Health Careers Oral Health Curriculum 

This year, the Office of Oral Health was charged with the fantastic task of developing and teaching a five-week oral health curriculum for high school students in the Boston Area Health Education Center (BAHEC) "Youth to Health Careers Summer Program" that ended on August 8, 2011. The curriculum was designed to increase the youth's awareness and interest in oral health professions with the overall goal of increasing minority representation in Boston's oral health care field. Students learned about the connection between poor oral health and systemic effects, the relationship between oral health and nutrition, the link between Human Papillomavirus and oral cancer, oral transmission of STDs/STIs, the dangers of oral piercings and tooth whitening, the importance of wearing an athletic mouth guard, the oral health effects of tobacco, social terminants of health, and an in-depth look into each of the dental professions. The series ended with a one hour Q&A panel of oral health and other professionals. Thank you to the panelists for providing important insight into their careers for the BAHEC students!


BAHEC youth learned about the link between oral cancer and Human Papillomavirus, as well as the effects tobacco has on the oral cavity. Students participated in an activity designed to visualize the harmful ingredients in a cigarette.











Later, in a "Flip Camera Throwdown" two teams of students each created public service commercials targeting youth on what they learned in class. Additional media created by BAHEC youth can be found on the BPHC Office of Oral Health FACEBOOK page. Click on the images to see the commercials!


BAHEC youth competed in Top Chef-Oral Health Edition where they were tasked with creating healthy, tooth-friendly meal options keeping in mind the types of nutrition that promote healthy teeth, gums, and bones to guest judges Shelly Yarnie, Associate Director, MassAHEC Network, University of Massachusetts Medical School; and Kathy Cunningham, Senior Program Manager and Registered Dietician, Boston Public Health Commission.

A panel of guest speakers led a discussion about oral health careers and how they relate to other health care fields. From left to right: Ann Bowen, Public Health Nurse, Boston Public Health Commission; Kathryn Dolan, Community Dental Programs Director, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine; Kathy Lituri, Oral Health Promotion Director, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine; Joyce Starr, Oral Health Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Public Health; Kathy Cunningham, Senior Program Manager and Registered Dietician, Boston Public Health Commission.   


Healing Our Community Collaborative Presentation

The Office of Oral Health was invited by Healing Our Community Collaborative (HOCC), a prevention and education program for women infected by, affected by, or at risk for HIV, to give a presentation on oral health and HIV on August 8, 2011. Oral health intern, Maria Mannara, discussed topics such as the systemic effects of poor oral health, the impact recreational drug use has on the oral cavity, and the oral manifestations of HIV. Over 70 women were in attendance and many had questions regarding denture care! We applaud the ladies' strong interest in maintaining good oral health and a special thank you to Heidi Bright for her collaboration!  

HOCC women preparing for the presentation.  


7th Annual Book Bag Giveaway and Resource Fair 
On August, 24, 2011, the Office of Oral Health partnered with Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (BUSDM) to provide oral health education, dental screenings, toothbrushes, and toothpaste to over 1000 Boston Public School students at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Over thirty resource tables were provided at the event and students also received brand new book bags filled with an assortment of school supplies. Way to start off the school year right!

Left: Two children showing BUSDM student the proper way to brush teeth.
Right: Amaya Price (5 years old) receiving a dental screening
from a BUSDM student.  

Carla Webster Child Care Provider Presentation 

The Office of Oral Health spoke to parents and family child care providers from Yours For Children on August 25, 2011, at the Codman Square Library in Dorchester, about cavity prevention methods, proper tooth care for babies and toddlers, and smart snacking for the children in their care. Audience members participated in an interactive game that emphasized the transmission of decay-causing bacteria from caregiver to child, as well as an activity that showed the amount of sugar in popular sugar-sweetened beverages for children. What a great group!


Yours For Children's Carla Webster and two providers playing a game about the three things you need to form a cavity: sugar/carbohydrates, a tooth, and oral bacteria!

 Senior Oral Health Project Dental and Eye Screening 

The Senior Oral Health Project is excited to announce a new collaboration with the New England Eye Institute! In addition to receiving free dental screenings, dental hygiene education, and dental appointment referrals, low income seniors residing in Boston Housing Authority developments and participating in the Project will now also be offered blood pressure screenings, free eye examinations, eye care, and glasses (if not covered by other insurance). On August 25, 2011, over 25 Bellflower Housing Development residents 60 years old and over were screened and made referrals for further treatment. A special thank you to Wendy Ng, Bellflower Resident Services Coordinator, for making this day such a success!

Senior Oral Health Project dental professionals, housing development staff, and Bellflower residents participating in the screening.

Community Spotlight

The Importance of Nutrition and Oral Health

Written by: 
Peggy Timothe, DDS, MPH
Instructor in Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology
Senior Tutor
Oliver Wendell Holmes Society
Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Poor eating habits such as consuming fast foods, soft drink, high fructose carbohydrates, as well as the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables are causes of poor nutrition. Inadequate nutrition can lead to many health problems and lifestyle-related diseases. Proper nutrition means that the body is receiving the right amounts of nutrients, minerals, as well as calories from eating right and a good diet. Adequate nutrition is essential for wellness and health professionals increasingly understand the importance of nutrition and oral health to overall health. Once established chronic diseases are costlier to treat, thus prevention is important and may help reduce suffering from and reduce costs. Oral health problems are common and also have a disproportional effect on populations in the US. Disenfranchised groups such as lower-income people and immigrant groups tend to have greater oral health diseases.

Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) aims for leadership in oral and systemic health. Research shows that there is a bi-directional relationship between poor oral health and systemic health. HSDM students are taught of the importance of oral health and nutrition as well as the many studies that show the associations between dental diseases and poor nutrition. For example, diabetes increases the risk of gum disease and gum disease complicates the sugar control of the diabetic. Students are trained for health promotion and advocate for healthy lifestyles by their patients. In many community events throughout the year students perform oral screenings and oral health education. Discussions include reducing the frequency of sweetened beverages and, limit snacking to eating a balanced diet. Also tips for patients such as substituting the use of refined sugars- customary for people to have sugar with coffee and teas with drinking (tap) water. For more information, please visit the HSDM Global Health and Community Health Projects Page.


Community Outreach at Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene-Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Written by:
Aditi Puri, PhD, RDH

Assistant Professor

Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences


The Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene (FSDH) at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) has initiated various strategic efforts to provide preventative dental hygiene services to the underserved population in the Greater Boston area. The Esther M. Wilkins clinic at FSDH offers low-cost dental hygiene services such as prophylaxis, scaling and root planing, sealants, mouth guards and radiographs to the community. During the 2010-2011 school year, students enrolled in the Community Oral Health and Capstone courses collaborated with faculty to create various community outreach initiatives. Some of these initiatives were aimed at providing dental hygiene services to refugees and adolescents from Jewish Vocational Services and Roxbury/Dorchester school systems at the Esther M. Wilkins clinic. Students created oral health education programs for seniors, adults, adolescents and children at Mission Hill After School Program, AstraZeneca Hope Lodge, Back of the Hill Apartments, etc. The extramural program at FSDH has continually served the community and collaborated with institutions such as the Veteran's Administration, Dimock and Whittier Street Community Health Centers and others to create avenues where students can provide comprehensive dental hygiene services to the underserved population. Our goal is to continue the existing initiatives and seek other opportunities to serve the Greater Boston community.

Did You Know?


A Balanced Diet is Key For...

   * Healthy Gums: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Protein

   * Healthy Teeth and Bones: Vitamin D, Calcium





What Are Some Good, Healthy, Tooth-friendly Snack Ideas? 

   * Fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, fish, eggs

   * Low-fat cheese, yogurt, milk




A Good Diet Also Means Avoiding Some Things...

   * FACT: The average American eats his body

      weight in sugar every year

   * Sugar hurts teeth because:




How Can I Eat Sugar Without Hurting My Teeth?

   * Eat sugar less often

   * Eat it with a meal

   * Watch the sticky stuff!

   * Brush after eating carbohydrates

                     -Compared to gummy candies, carbohydrates

                       like crackers and chips contain less-soluable

                       sugars so it is harder for saliva to dissolve and

                       stays on tooth surfaces longer.


Soda packs the Deadly Duo:

   * Phosphoric acid and sugar

   * If you must, drink with a straw and avoid



The BPHC Chronic Disease Prevention Control Division has launched two new websites as part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Obesity Prevention Initiative. Fatsmak.org is targetted towards youth, while www.sugarsmarts.com is more adult driven. Both sites offer helpful information and resources regarding sugar sweetened beverages and smart alternatives to help reduce your likelihood of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Check them out today!

September is "National 5-A-Day Nutrition Month". Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily for better oral health and overall health!  


fruits veggies


The USDA developed the MyPlate icon designed to remind you to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal or eating occasion.


Find out the daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables for you and your family members based on age, sex, and activity level.






How much is a cup of fruits and vegetables? Get a visual example of a one cup serving.


See the nutritional info chart for a 1/2 cup of popular fruits.

See the nutritional info chart for a 1/2 cup of popular vegetables.


Snack your way to 5 a day with these recommendations from the American Cancer Society.


For fruit and vegetable tools and resources, visit the Produce for Better Health Foundation's catalog.


Munch 5-A-Day is an iPhone app to help you eat more fruits and vegetables, and maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.


"Give me 5 A Day" is a 27-page children's book emphasizing the importance of eating vegetables and fruits. The book is geared towards preschoolers and first graders.




According to the American Dental Hygienists Association, October is "National Dental Hygiene Month".




In Boston, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences provides low-cost dental hygiene services to the public year round through the Forsyth Dental Hygiene Clinic. Examples include $5 teeth cleanings for any university student or $25 teeth cleanings for any adult!


Do you know the appropriate age to begin flossing your children's teeth or when it is okay for your children to brush and floss on their own? Find the answers when you check out these dental hygiene tips for kids.


Learn how to floss your teeth properly with these guidelines from the American Dental Hygienists' Association.


Learn how to brush your teeth properly with these guidelines from the American Dental Hygienists' Assocation.


brushing teeth

Upcoming Events and Trainings

If your program or organization has any updates or event information you would like to share, please email our office at oralhealth@bphc.org.


ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership
September 9, 2011
ADA Headquarters, Chicago, IL
Click here for details.

Forces of Change: New Strategies for the Evolving Health Care Marketplace
September 12-16, 2011
Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Click here for details.

Oral Health Training for Community Health Workers in MA
September 13 & 20, 2011
Central MA AHEC, Inc./OWTI, Worcester, MA
Click here for details.

FDI Annual World Dental Congress
September 14-17, 2011
Mexico City, Mexico
Click here for details.
6th Annual New England Rural Oral Health Conference
September 16, 2011
Crowne Plaza Nashua, Nashua, NH
Click here for details.

2nd Annual Central Texas Dental Symposium on Pediatric Medical
September 17, 2011
Seton Family Healthcare Administrative Office, Austin, TX
Click here for details.

ADA/Forsyth Course on Evidence-Based Dentistry
September 19-23, 2011
Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA
Click here for details.


Oral Health Training for Community Health Workers in MA
October 4, 2011
Worchester, MA
Click here for details.
ADA Annual Session 2011
October 10, 2011
Las Vegas, NV
Click here for details.

Better Oral Health For Massachusetts Coalition
Annual Meeting

October 20, 2011
Hoagland Pincus Conference Center, Shrewsbury, MA
Click here to register.

2011 Connected Health Symposium
October 20, 2011
Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers, Boston, MA
Click here for detals.
National Primary Oral Health Conference
October 23-26, 2011
Gaylord National, National Harbor, MD
Click here for details.

2011 Institute for Oral Health National Conference

October 27-28, 2011
Sofitel Hotel Water Tower, Chicago, IL
Click here for details.

American Public Health Association 2011 Annual Meeting & Exposition

October 29-November 2, 2011
Washington Convention Center, Washington DC
Click here for details.
If you would like to get involved or have any updates to share, please email our office at oralhealth@bphc.org.

Best Regards,
Andrea Lam, Maria Mannara, and the Oral Health Team
BPHC Office of Oral Health