The Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association, in conjunction with the Saranac Lake Elementary Schools dental hygienist Suzanne Snizek, conducted an informal "Smile Smarts" competition for students in the Petrova and Bloomingdale elementary schools as part of the school dental health program.
To help promote Dental Health month, Snizek announced a question each week in February during morning announcements pertaining to dental health. Each class would collect the individual answers and a representative would submit the answers to the Smile Smarts box at the dental hygienist office.
"The questions had to be easy," says Snizek. "There is a wide age range between kindergarten and fifth grade. The students know what to do, though. I was pleased how many right answers we received. The whole idea was to help remind students that these simple measures, like flossing and brushing, can make a huge difference with their health and overall performance at school. If they take care of their teeth every day they can avoid having problems with their teeth later on."
The Petrova students were as follows: Betty Schneider, grade 5; Brooklyne Curry, grade 2; Stephen Huyck, grade 5; Lydia Wamsganz, grade 2.
(Photo — Diane Chase)
The questions and answers were as follows:
Q: Do you only need to brush your front teeth? A: No, you need to brush all your teeth.
Q: Is drinking soda every day good for your teeth? A: No, drinking soda is not good for your teeth.
Q: Do you only need to floss if you feel something between your teeth? No, you should floss between your teeth every day.
Q: Is a dentist a doctor that knows all about how to find and fix problems with your teeth and mouth? A: Yes, a dentist specializes.
Each weekly winner was chosen at random and received a packet of dental goodies donated by the Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association that included a spin brush, full size flavored toothpaste, brushing timer, bracelet, Trident gum with xylitol, a tongue cleaner, tooth saver necklace, floss and flossers in addition to coupons for various dental products.
The Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association noticed a need for a dental hygienist in 1981. For more than 30 years, SLVHA has provided a hygienist to be part of the Saranac Lake School District. The SLVHA, located on Main Street in Saranac Lake, is a nonprofit organization offering the Saranac Lake community visiting nurse services, medical equipment, the Elementary School Dental Hygiene Program and financial assistance based on recommendations from the hygienist and visiting nurse. Originally established in 1897 as the District Nurse Association, the name was later changed to the Saranac Lake Society for the Control of Tuberculosis and subsequently changed again to the Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association.