WORCESTER – – It was all smiles in the Worcester Public Schools on Monday as state and city government officials teamed up with local public health agencies to promote a comprehensive approach to personal health and wellness to students.

Worcester Students All Smiles with Free Toothbrushes 1

Local officials, paired with staff from Worcester dentistry practice Kool Smiles, visited several Worcester schools to talk about the importance of preventative dental care and distribute more than 2,000 free toothbrushes to students.

“We’re changing the way we think about health here in Worcester. Health is not just the absence of illness, but about the wellness of the entire person,” Mayor Joseph M. Petty said. “Dental health is an important part of the total wellness that we want for all of our city’s residents, especially in our children.”

The initiative was headed by Massachusetts State Senator and Majority Leader Harriette Chandler, who co-chairs the Prevention for Health Caucus as well as the Legislature’s Oral Health Caucus. State Senator Moore, Representatives O’Day, Campanale, Mahoney, Keefe, and Donahue, as well as Superintendent Maureen Binienda made visits and distributed the toothbrushes donated by Kool Smiles, the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, and the Family Health Center of Worcester.

“The importance of early access to dental care and prevention education cannot be overstated,” Chandler said. “Tooth decay is the leading chronic disease among children and can affect everything from a child’s ability to eat, speak and concentrate in school to his or her employment prospects later in life.”

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