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Idaho State University dental hygiene program awarded $5,000 grant

February 2, 2015
ISU Marketing and Communications

Bengal Smiles Idaho State University Sealant Program, one of the most successful outreach programs organized by the ISU Department of Dental Hygiene, has been awarded the 2014-2015 Wrigley Company Foundation Community Service Grant for the sealant program’s maintenance and expansion.

The grant was sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists Association Institute for Oral Health in the amount of $5,000. Dental hygiene associate professor Karen Portillo applied for the grant in October 2014.

Karen PortilloBengal Smiles is a school-based oral health care program, which provides free dental sealants for children. A dental sealant is a protective plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth in order to prevent cavities, especially in children.

According to Portillo, Bengal Smiles was launched last spring at Greenacres Elementary School in Pocatello. This semester, the dental hygiene students will continue the outreach program at Greenacres and expand it to Tyhee Elementary School in Chubbuck.

Portillo said that the money from the grant will be used to purchase additional instruments to run the program.

The ISU Department of Dental Hygiene received two grants from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho in 2013 and 2014 as well as another grant from Idaho Power in 2013.

Last spring, the dental hygiene students saw 54 children and placed 165 dental sealants for free, an average total cost of $2,450, which was funded by the department, said Portillo.


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