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Today is Give Kids A Smile

Smile Kentucky reaches $1 million milestone

February 03, 2012

By Stacie Crozier, ADA News staff

In its 10th year, Give Kids A Smile is being celebrated today in events large and small throughout the country.

Screening time: Dr. Rachel Davis, a Louisville general dentist, screens a child in preparation for the 2012 Smile Kentucky/Give Kids A Smile day.
More than 1,500 programs were registered aiming to treat more than 405,000 children. Here is how a coalition of dental and community groups are marking the day in Louisville, Ky.

Celebrating 10 years of community service and $1 million in donated dental care to children in need, the Smile Kentucky program is providing free dental care to some 270 children today at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and is launching a new video to enhance its dental education activities.

Last fall, Oral Health America awarded the program a 2012 NCDHM Samuel D. Harris Grant to produce the educational video, “Where's the Sugar?” The video is designed to help children and adults learn how to measure the amount of sugar in common snacks, how to track sugar intake and how to make healthful snack choices. Delta Dental of Kentucky, Kentucky Dental Association and Louisville Water Co. provided additional funding and video production services for the project.

The new video complements Smile Kentucky's printed curriculum materials and local school learning objectives. The video is scheduled to be posted online today at for use by teachers, health educators and others who conduct dental health education programs or National Children's Dental Health Month activities.

Each fall and winter, thousands of elementary school children in grades three through six are screened in advance of the program and receive dental health education. Children in need of care who are uninsured or underinsured are invited to the February treatment day held in conjunction with the ADA's Give Kids A Smile day.

Smiles: Louisville, Ky., elementary school students await dental screening on board the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures mobile unit in October 2011. Follow-up care was planned for the Feb. 3 GKAS/Smile Kentucky treatment day at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry.
A community coalition launched Smile Kentucky in 2002. Founding partners included the Louisville Water Co., the Louisville Dental Society, the U of L School of Dentistry, Colgate, Henry Schein Dental, Northwest Area Health Education Center and the Bullit County Health Department. The program now includes more than 20 agencies that serve on the steering committee and 150 groups that donate time, materials and funding.

Since 2002, more than 127,000 students in 143 schools in 11 counties have received dental education; 35,000 have had a free dental screening and more than 3,000 have received free treatment.

“Dental pain and infection are among the leading causes for missed days at school and affect a child's ability to concentrate,” said Dr. John Sauk, U of L dental school dean. “These students subsequently have lower grade point averages. The University of Louisville School of Dentistry is dedicated to improving the oral health of Kentucky's children. That's why we suspend our normal clinic operations the first Friday in February in order to focus our entire faculty, staff and students-over 300 people-on the Smile Kentucky effort.”