Running for oral health care

April 23rd, 2015

Illustration depicting a toothbrush running to promote the June 27 Miles for Smiles runathon benefitting those in need of oral health careNow entering its seventh year, the Miles for Smiles runathon becomes an official TAMBCD event

Since spring 2009 Miles for Smiles — the brainchild of predental students from the University of Texas at Dallas — has raised $24,755 for the Social Services Fund at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry.

A collaborative effort among North Texas predental students, dentists, dental students and community sponsors, the June 27 event will allow participants to run or walk as far as they can, for as long as they can, to raise money for individuals who cannot afford much-needed dental care.

For the first time, Miles for Smiles has the financial and volunteer backing of TAMBCD student organizations, which means runners seeking a break can receive free dental and oral cancer screenings and visit kid-friendly booths, as dental students will provide oral health education and demonstrations on effective brushing techniques. It’s all scheduled to happen from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Exall Park in Dallas.

“We wanted to make Miles for Smiles into a North Texas event, not just a UTD one,” says second-year dental student Mehrad Sadeghpour, one of the event organizers since the idea originated in 2008. “Faculty, alumni and the public will come together, and sponsors are donating to the Dallas community in support of dental care. It’s a win-win for everybody.” That includes TAMBCD students, who for the first time will be able to participate, as the runathon will occur on a weekend and at a venue near the dental school.

Leeanna Bartlett is director of social services at TAMBCD and says, “Events such as Miles for Smiles enable people with limited resources to complete much needed dental treatment, and this in turn helps students complete their clinical requirements. Helping those in need has always been an important part of our mission, and I hope it always will be.”

How Miles for Smiles works:

  • Community sponsors commit to support the cause through direct contributions or pledge-per-mile donations.
  • Runners show up the day of the event to run and have fun — live music and giveaways are a part of the mix.
  • The cumulative miles run among all participants determines the total amount of money raised.

— Carolyn Cox