For the second year in a row, the Dental Hygiene program has made “Change-ing Smiles” a top priority.

Change jars were distributed around campus in an effort to raise funds to benefit not only the program, but to meet the dental needs of residents throughout the community, says senior Emily Gilpin, president of the Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association at Missouri Southern.

“October is actually National Dental Hygiene Month,” says Gilpin. “Last year was the first year (for the campaign), so we’re bringing it back again. The funds go to a variety of local causes and wherever our community needs come about.”

Last year, the “Change-ing Smiles” fundraiser brought in more than $750. The student group hopes to surpass that total by raising more than $1,000 this year.

Gilpin says some might not be aware, but the campus dental hygiene clinic sees a variety of patients – including students, family members and community residents.

“It really helps us to grow as clinicians and to be able to feel confident in the skills we’ve learned, whether it’s providing cleanings, taking X-rays or impressions,” she says. “I think we have a really wonderful program.”