Students brush up on dental care SOUTHEAST -- Sykesville * Eldersburg * Gamber

NEIGHBORS

February 02, 1993|By MAUREEN RICE

I was in the library the other day minding my own business, trying to find a book by a favorite author. Two teen-aged girls were chatting nearby. I didn't mean to hear them, but I was riveted by a comment I overheard.

"Are you going to the dance?" asked one.

"I'd like to," replied the other, "but I haven't found a guy to take."

A guy to take? Back in my day, guys asked girls to dances.

I no longer cared about my favorite author. I was trying to convince myself that I shouldn't listen to the rest of the conversation. I failed.

"I've got just the guy for you!" chirped the first girl.

"Really?" replied the second. "My guy has to be smart and have a good sense of humor. And, of course, he has to be cute."

Well, at least some things never change.

*

"Some people really do tie a string around their teeth and a door handle to pull out a loose tooth," said Eldersburg dentist Tim Passarello. "I never did it, but I've heard stories."

Dr. Passarello expects to hear more stories, and tell a few, this month.

For more than 40 years, February has been National Childrens' Dental Health Month. And the American Dental Association and its local chapters have made teaching good dental health habits an art.

"In Carroll County, we're primarily concentrating on visiting the schools," said Dr. Passarello. "We'll be talking to something like 8,000 kids. I'll be speaking to roughly 800 myself."

Dr. Passarello, along with many other area dentists, will visit the schools to teach kids what they should know about dental hygiene.

"I think this has a long-term effect on attitudes toward dentistry," Dr. Passarello said. "I've seen some patients who came in because the child heard a dentist in school and told the parents that he should be seeing the dentist.

"I've heard kids I've seen in school tell me things I told them six or eight months ago."

The talks will be tailored to different age groups.

"They may get a little more information than they might get in an office visit," Dr. Passarello said. "We discuss brushing and flossing, of course, good nutrition, and with the older grades, braces and careers in dentistry. We emphasize how cavities begin and the importance of regular visits to the dentist."

The talks often are accompanied by videos.

"The kids seem to like it, from kindergarten on up," Dr. Passarello said. "It seems to start them off on the right foot."

*

Little Miss Carroll County is right here among us in Sykesville. Dana Wright earned the title on Jan. 9, after performing a lyrical dance in the competition at Liberty High School.

Dana, 9, has been competing in majorette and dance competitions since she was 5. She has so many awards that her mother, Darlene, finally packed a lot of them in a box.

"We're selling the house, and there are so many of these that her room looked overcrowded," Darlene Wright said. "Dana was mad at me, but I had to do something with them."

Dana is a true talent in her field. She has won the Miss CAMA (Capitol Area Marching Association) for her age group four years in a row, and won a ballet talent competition in South Bend, Ind., last year.

"I like to do it a lot," Dana said. "It's really fun. Now that I have experience, it's easy -- but it takes a lot of practice. I get to see my friends and win prizes, and that makes it even more fun."

Dana's younger sister, Crystal, 6, is marching into competition as well.

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