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A two-time Olympic gold medalist unveiled a dental health education program yesterday at an elementary school in Michigan.
Peter Vanderkaay, a freestyle swimmer who won gold in the 2008 and 2004 Olympics, lent his celebrity status to raise awareness about the benefits of good dental care during Children's Dental Health Month.
The month is dedicated to educating parents and children about dental care, as well as giving some clinics around the country the opportunity to administer dental exams to children who may not have access to dental insurance.
Vanderkaay initiated the education campaign by distributing a life-sized growth chart and poster, featuring the swimmer, to a crowd of 400 students.
"My dad's a dentist, my mom is a dental hygienist and I was taught at an early age about how vital it is to maintain a gold medal smile," Vanderkaay said to the crowd.
The star athlete also stressed that dental care wasn't just for healthy teeth, but for overall fitness and wellness.
"It takes a lot to be an Olympic athlete, including a commitment to a healthy lifestyle and solid dental hygiene habits," Vanderkaay said.
Vanderkaay is the current Olympic, World, and American record holder in the 4x200 freestyle relay.
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