CHICAGO, Jan. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Dental Association (ADA) and Smile Kentucky! are collaborating with Henry Schein Dental, the U.S. Dental business of Henry Schein, Inc., Colgate-Palmolive Co., and DEXIS, LLC, to kick off this year's national Give Kids A Smile® program on Friday, Feb. 1, at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in Kentucky. 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.
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"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 premier 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 – 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," said John J. Sauk, D.D.S., M.S., dean, University of Louisville School of Dentistry.
Tooth decay affects approximately 28 percent of U.S. children 2 to 5 years old and 58 percent 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, D.M.D., M.M.Sc. "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, Inc. "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. five-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. Sponsor Henry Schein Dental provides professional dental supplies such as gloves, gauze, masks and patient bibs; sponsor Colgate-Palmolive Co., donates toothbrushes and toothpaste for children at the events; and sponsor DEXIS, LLC, donates the use of its digital X-ray systems, along with the expertise of its staff for dental schools, organizations and large group practices requesting assistance. In addition, longtime contributor 3M donated 500 refills of dental sealant and etchant materials for those GKAS programs that qualified.
National Children's Dental Health Month
February is also National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM), which the ADA created to raise awareness and advocacy for the importance of good dental health for all children, youth and teens.
This year's National Children's Dental Health Month poster features the campaign's slogan "GET A GOLD MEDAL SMILE," available in both English and Spanish. The ADA offers free downloadable oral health resources for dentists, dental team members, school nurses and teachers to provide fun tools to promote the benefits of good oral health to children. The program planning guide includes easy-to-do classroom activities, program planning timetable tips and much more. The ADA's messages and materials have reached millions of people in communities across the country.
Editors: Most Give Kids A Smile events require advanced registration, usually through schools and social service clubs and agencies. For more information, visit http://www.ada.org/givekidsasmile.aspx
About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit www.ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website www.MouthHealthy.org.
About Smile Kentucky!
The Louisville-based program, Smile Kentucky! began in 2002 as a community partnership to provide free dental education and dental screenings at school and free, comprehensive treatment to underserved children. Smile Kentucky! includes over 150 partners and since 2002 has provided over $1 million dollars of free dentistry. The education program is now part of a statewide effort. For more information about Smile Kentucky, visit www.SmileKentucky.com.
SOURCE American Dental Association