Healthy Teeth Happy Smile, presented by The National Dental Association (a professional association of dentists), is a short educational film—likely from the early 1960s, that targets minority teenagers to promote good oral care practices. The film opens with high school students leaving a classroom and filing into an assembly hall. A handful of students wait on a stage behind the curtain for an awards ceremony (01:24). The film cuts to the school nurse’s office where a dentist provides free dental examinations. Sally sits down for the exam, and the dentist finds cavities. The film shows Sally walking down a sidewalk with a friend. She models a dress in her house in front of a mirror (03:21). Sally sits in the exam chair at a dentist office (03:48). She looks at pictures of Charles Edwin Bentley and Robert Tanner Freeman, African American pioneering dentists, on the wall of the office. The dentist walks in and talks to Sally about her teeth. The dentists and his assistant set up the x-ray arm and insert bite-wings into Sally’s mouth (05:58). The dentist gives Sally a booklet on proper dental care, then he shows her the x-rays of her teeth (08:31). Basic animation is used to show how tooth decay occurs, with food and bacteria causing plaque, and bacteria growth. The dentist goes to scrape tarter off Sally’s teeth (10:55), and the film again uses animation, this time to show the procedure, proper teeth brushing technique, and how a cavity is filled. Sally demonstrates how to brush teeth by using an oversized brush on oversized model teeth (13:00). The film then shows her as she stands in front of a calendar and schedules regular dentist visits. The film then shows healthy foods to eat for healthy teeth (15:15), as well as the sugary foods to avoid. Sally sits on a bench at school (16:22). A boy gives her a pear to eat. Sally stands in front of a mirror in a school bathroom brushing her teeth. She sits for the visiting dentist at school for another free dental exam and gets a clean bill of health (17:54). The film cuts back to the school auditorium and the stage (18:30), where recipients of Winners Dental Health Week stand and are recognized for having healthy teeth. Sally talks to the camera about the joy of having healthy teeth, concluding the film.
The National Dental Association (NDA) is a professional association of minority dentists based in Washington, DC and operating in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Formed in 1913, it is the largest such association in the world. Among the aims of the NDA is extending dental treatment and education to impoverished, disabled or minority populations, as well as those who may not be able to seek proper care due to age. It also works to maintain professional standards in dentistry and to encourage dental careers among minority populations. The seeds of the organization extend back to 1900. In that year, approximately 200 professionals gathered together to form Washington, D.C.'s Washington Society of Colored Dentists, which was retitled in 1907 to the Robert T. Freeman Dental Society. On May 1, 1901, a National Association of Colored Dentists was founded by dentist David A. Ferguson at Howard University College of Dentistry, but it failed to take hold, ceasing meetings after 1906. Since black dentists were still denied membership in such organizations as the American Dental Association, and since dentists felt sidelined in the African-American National Medical Association (NMA), Ferguson tried again in 1913, forming with a total of 29 black dentists the Tri-State Dental Association. The rapid expansion of this association required its renaming in 1918, when it became the Interstate Dental Association with members representing 14 states. The organization continued to expand, including a 1928 affiliation with the recently formed Commonwealth Dental Society of New Jersey. At a meeting of the Commonwealth Dental Society of New Jersey in Bordentown in 1932, a national organization was proposed, and the Interstate Dental Association became the National Dental Association. In 1940, the NDA, which had formerly been associated with the NMA, went fully independent.
Charles Edwin Bentley (1859–1929) was an American dentist. He was the founder of what grew to be the largest local dental society in the world, and he was a leader in the Chicago branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
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