Immense enthusiasm at UniCamillus for the closing event of the 3rd edition of the Oral Health and Prevention of Malocclusions project

The third edition of the Oral Health and Prevention of Malocclusions project has ended with lots of smiling, especially from children. Since the academic year 2021-2022 UniCamillus has been conducting, thanks to the initiative of Professors Lione and Laganà of the MSc Dentistry and Dental Prosthetics, an active campaign to promote good oral health care practices among children in schools. However, the University’s role differs from similar ones because it sees the direct involvement of young patients and university students, in an innovative and engaging formula.

A service is offered to the community―that of the area of Casal Monastero and its surroundings, where UniCamillus is located―and the students are given a first test of what they will have to face in the future, once they graduate. Basically, for the children, the opportunity is to receive information and training on how best to take care of their own health, while for the MSc students, the project is the first opportunity to put into practice the theory learned in class. A further positive effect is the possibility for the University to channel positive actions into the territory, for the continuation of a fruitful and mutual dialogue and collaboration with local realities (so-called third mission activities).

The idea was immediately welcomed with enthusiasm by the children, but also and above all by the institutions where the initiative took place, as well as by the families of the children themselves. This year it was the turn of the Istituto Comprensivo Nicolai, a comprehensive primary school located in the San Basilio neighbourhood, eastern quadrant of Rome, which includes several campuses (Nicolai, San Cleto, Buazzelli) also in neighbouring areas.

Pupils from different classes were involved in nine meetings with the 2nd year students of the MSc Dentistry and Dental Prosthetics at UniCamillus. Starting at the beginning of March, the children underwent real dental examinations (under the supervision of our teaching staff, who are also qualified medical professionals), during which their oral health status was assessed. Each of the schoolchildren was then given an ‘information sheet’ with a summary of the results of their check-up, which was useful for directing their parents towards further check-ups, if needed. Children and families were also given practical tips and leaflets with advice on the correct actions to take to maintain both mouth and teeth healthy and clean.

Last Friday, the 10th and final meeting was held in the UniCamillus Auditorium. On that occasion, the Rector Gianni Profita stressed how much this project is close to his heart and to the entire University, precisely because of the important opportunity it represents to pass on the fruits of the University’s work to the local community. Together with him and the project’s promoters, there were MSc students who will soon become professional dentists, as well as a delegation from the school where this year’s edition took place.

The Istituto Comprensivo Nicolai wished to pay homage to UniCamillus through some artistic performances produced by the children themselves, in a form of interdisciplinary restitution of the Oral Health and Prevention of Malocclusions project―an important testimony of how much this activity promoted by our University has hit the mark. After the institutional greetings, the young guests took turns on stage, led by their Art and Civic Education teacher, Ms. Berardi, to show some of their work: from a poster summarising what they had learnt, to a reproduction of a mouth, complete with teeth, and details of the structure of a tooth, all made of cardboard, plastic and various other materials. And then there were musical performances, short monologues and even an interactive game to match which foods were healthier and which less healthy for dental care. An enthusiasm that impressed everyone and once again reinforced the conviction of the entire academic community at UniCamillus of the importance of continuing to cultivate these important moments of contact with the many other external realities surrounding them.

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