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Donating Toothbrushes To People In Need

SHS Sophomore Alexis Shore has collected more than 1,500 toothbrushes to give to those who cannot afford them

Most teens aren’t very keen on having braces, but for Syosset High School’s Alexis Shore, it wasn’t a bad experience: not only are her teeth now nice and straight, but all that time spent in the orthodontist’s chair made her realize that she wanted to go into the dental profession herself.

“I think that it’s a really cool thing to make people’s teeth so straight and perfect; and I love my teeth today and what the orthodontists have done for me,” said Shore, noting that she was also inspired by her father, an endodontist.

So when this aspiring orthodontist wanted to do something to improve the lives of people less fortunate, it seemed only natural to try to combine her interest in dental health with her charitable efforts. She quickly came up with the idea of collecting toothbrushes for the less fortunate, in cooperation with the organization World Dental Relief.

While a toothbrush from the drugstore may not seem like a major expense, for people in some parts of the world, not only is a toothbrush unaffordable, but the lack of them can lead to major health problems. Sometimes people are forced to share toothbrushes, which can spread disease.

“I learned that people in 3rd and 4th world countries as well as inner city clinics in the United States cannot afford something as simple as a $2 toothbrush,” said Shore. “Not only would I be preventing a family from tooth decay and infection, I would be preventing heart disease as well as diseases that can be transferred from mouth to mouth with an infected toothbrush.”

So Shore went door-to-door to dentist’s office in Syosset and nearby Huntington, collecting any toothbrushes they could share. According to Shore, the reception was very positive and some dentists were happy to give her hundreds of spare toothbrushes. To date, she has collected over 1500 toothbrushes, which will soon go to people in need of them in Guatemala.

However, the student isn’t done yet; she’s currently working with the Interact community service club at Syosset High School to arrange a toothbrush drive for sometime during the winter. You know those packs of unopened toothbrushes sitting in the medicine cabinet, collecting dust? This young lady has a plan for them.

“A lot of people have toothbrushes just laying around in their bathroom that no one really knows what to do with…students will want to bring them in because they’ll be going to a good cause,” said Shore.

Those with unused toothbrushes to donate may do so immediately by going to Shore’s website, savethesmiles.org. Those without any spare toothbrushes at the moment are welcome to make a monetary donation to help cover the cost of shipping the toothbrushes to World Dental Relief. Also, don’t be surprised if you see a toothbrush collection box at some Syosset High School events in the near future.