Photographs by Kerry-Ann Hamilton/HU Communications – L-R Third year dental students Atri Patel and Julia Williams teach student at Ecole Shalom Des Freres how to properly brush her teeth.

Ouvè bouch ou! Di ahhh! translated Open Wide! Say Ahhh!

Today, more than 70 Haitian school children received dental screenings in Croix Des Bouquets, approximately 30 minutes outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Arti Patel and Julia Williams, two dental students at Howard University, held a makeshift dental clinic in the schoolyard of Ecole Shalom Des Freres.

The third year dental students, Williams and Patel, were supported by a team of graduate and undergraduate students including Leoshay Lobley, Angel Mills and Saidat Ilo.

“Many diseases manifest first in the teeth,” said Williams. “We want to encourage the children to take good care of their teeth so they can improve their overall health.”

With the help of translators, the Alternative Spring Break-Haiti volunteers taught students how to brush their teeth, gums and tongue.

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“A lot of the children knew how to brush the teeth they could see well in the front of their mouth,” Patel said. “We spent most of the time showing them how to brush the teeth in the rear and on the tongue side of the mouth.”

Approximately, 20 percent of the children had decay or needed extraction. The dental team saw the deterioration especially present in older children. The students all received toothpaste and toothbrushes to take home. The work done by the Howard team is a precursor to a scheduled campus visit by a group of dental surgeons expected to arrive in May 2012.

Kerry-Ann Hamilton, director of strategic communications and marketing, is traveling with Howard University volunteers on their service mission to Haiti. The blog “Howard Brings Hope to Haiti” chronicles the travels and work of nearly two dozen students, faculty and staff during Alternative Spring Break 2012.