CHICAGO, Illinois—The American Dental Association and Smile Kentucky! will collaborate with Henry Schein Dental to kick off the 2013 national Give Kids A Smile program Feb. 1 at the University of Louisville (Ky.) School of Dentistry.
Approximately 40 dentists, 200 dental students, and 100 other community members will donate their time and expertise to perform comprehensive dental care on approximately 300 underserved children from area schools.
“One of our top goals in Louisville is to create a much healthier city for people of all ages, no matter their background or where they live,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
“Making meaningful progress takes entrepreneurial thinking and strong public-private partnerships. Led by our own Louisville Water, Smile Kentucky! has been a world-class model of collaboration.”
Smile Kentucky! is one of the top state programs nationwide with 150 local groups collaborating to provide more than $1 million in services since the program’s inception in 2002. The ADA’s national Give Kids A Smile program provides oral health services to children in need and emphasizes the need for government agencies to allocate adequate funding for those services.
“Our dental school is dedicated to improving the oral health of Kentucky’s children," said John J. Sauk, DDS, MS, dean, University of Louisville School of Dentistry.
"That’s why we suspend our normal clinical operations the first Friday in February in order to focus our facility, faculty, staff, and students--more than 300 people--on the Smile Kentucky! effort.”
Tooth decay affects approximately 2% of U.S. children 2 to 5 years old and 58% of U.S. children 12 to 15 years old, according to a 2007 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet most state Medicaid budgets allocate approximately 2% or less for dental services, according to the ADA.
“Smile Kentucky! is a terrific program that helps us showcase the great work of dentists and their teams in helping provide care to people who need it,” said ADA President Robert A. Faiella, DMD, MMSc.
“It’s a shame that dental disease is the most common chronic childhood disease when it’s something that can be prevented with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits.”
For good dental health, the ADA recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, eating a balanced diet, drinking water containing fluoride and visiting a dentist regularly.
Information on proper brushing technique is available at MouthHealthy.org, the ADA’s site that includes resources, information, and videos to help people be good stewards of their dental health.
The Louisville event is just one in the national Give Kids A Smile initiative, a signature program of the ADA in which approximately 10,000 dentists and their teams volunteer to provide free oral health services to more than 400,000 underserved children across the nation all year long.
“The success of Smile Kentucky! and other ADA Give Kids A Smile programs around the country underscore the power of public-private partnership,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman and CEO of Henry Schein.
“Together, we have made important strides in narrowing the wide gap in access to oral health care that exists in this country. But there is much work to be done. We must remain laser focused in helping ‘Give Kids A Smile’ fulfill its mission of eliminating cavities in U.S. 5-year-olds by 2020.”
Give Kids A Smile is made possible by the volunteer efforts of dentists, dental team members and the generous support of corporate sponsors.
For more information, visit http://www.ada.org/givekidsasmile.aspx.
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