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Kids from 10 first-grade classes in Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe will learn the value of oral hygiene during the Bright Smiles for Bright Futures campaign Monday through May 8.

The campaign takes place during the Month of the Military Child and is sponsored by DODDS, the Defense Commissary Agency and the Colgate-Palmolive Co., according to Paul Braun, Würzburg district manager for a U.S. company representing some of DECA’s top manufacturing companies.

The event includes a coloring contest for youngsters plus classroom activities, including demonstrations of proper brushing techniques by dentists from each community, Braun said.

One contest winner from each participating class will get a battery-operated toothbrush, and one winner from each of the participating communities gets a $100 U.S. Savings Bond, Braun said.

The communities are: Würzburg, Kitzingen, Ramstein, Spangdahlem, Wiesbaden, Mannheim and Heidelberg in Germany, plus Lakenheath, England, and Naples, Italy.

“This is a dental project to educate children on a very important topic — proper oral care,” Braun said.

Margaret Barry, Würzburg Elementary’s school nurse, said oral hygiene education campaigns like this are a must.

“Dental decay and a lack of oral hygiene are the most preventable problems with children today,” she said. “It’s really a big problem, and the kids need reinforcement like this on the importance of good oral hygiene.”

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