Believe it or not, there are children who refuse to smile because they are ashamed of their teeth. Sadly, their parents may be unable to afford dental care. On Give Kids a Smile Day, the first Friday of February, those frowns turn into smiles. For one day, dentists all across the country gather in hundreds of locations to offer free dental services to children. The goal, on February 1, is to share dental resources in the community so that children can have ongoing care.
Give Kids A Smile Day - History
Give Kids a Smile Day celebrated 15 years of teamwork
The event grew to include 30,000 dental team members working alongside 8,000 dentists to provide free oral health services to children.
Give Kids a Smile Day went national
Launched by the ADA, Give Kids a Smile Day focused on the importance of oral health by providing free dental services to millions of poor children.
Two dentists started Give Kids a Smile Day
Drs. Jeff Dalin and B. Ray Storm, two St. Louis dentists, delivered free dental care to almost 400 children in one day during the first Give Kids a Smile event.
The ancient Chinese brushed their teeth with a toothpaste-like substance
The ancient Chinese used herbal mints, salt, and ginseng to brush their teeth with a substance that had a consistency similar to modern toothpaste.
How to Observe Give Kids A Smile Day
1. Find a participating dentist
With over 10,000 dentists taking part in Give Kids a Smile Day, you will certainly be able to find one near you. Contact the ADA or your state dental society for a local participating dentist. Make sure that your dentist is located close enough to provide ongoing care, because one of the event's goals is to connect children with dentists for regular visits.
2. Locate a mobile screening van
On Give Kids A Smile Day, dentists will be working in all kinds of locations. They'll be in community centers, schools, and also in mobile screening vans. The ADA can help you find one in your community.
3. Get your child's school involved
Since Give Kids a Smile Day is part of a larger effort to bring dentists into underserved communities, ask your child's school principal if the school can be an event site. If not, see if the principal or school nurse will consider inviting a dentist or dental hygienist. It's important to get children excited about good oral health.
Chew On These 4 Incredible Facts About Dentistry
1. It's a crazy choice
Nearly 60 percent of Americans would rather get a dental exam than sit next to someone loudly yakking on a cell phone.
2. It makes cheese more appealing
Who knew that eating hard cheeses like cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Swiss can help reduce cavities because of their neutralizing plaque acid properties?
3. A decayed tooth is different from a cut on your body
Only a dentist can return a decayed tooth to good health since a tooth can’t repair itself.
4. Your mom was right
Eat more celery, carrots, and apples because these hard, crunchy goodies help to naturally clean your teeth.
Why Give Kids A Smile Day is Important
A. It's part of a larger community-focused effort
The American Dental Association (ADA) is committed to helping everyone maintain good oral health, especially in underserved communities. Give Kids a Smile Day is just one part of a total push for ongoing dental care for all Americans. The ADA is also working with schools and community centers to provide educational materials on the role teeth play in your overall health.
B. It offers basic dental care for children
Give Kids a Smile Day has restored smiles to over 5 million children since 2002. Dentists provide basic pediatric dental care including fillings, extractions, cleanings, and in some cases, limited lab work. The services are only offered one day per year at thousands of locations across the country. At the end of the treatment, happy children leave with free toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and other items.
C. It's a way for dentists to "pay it forward"
Assembling thousands of dental teams to participate in a one-day event is a colossal effort. For National Give Kids a Smile Day, over 10,000 dentists volunteer their services. Another 30,000 dental team members including hygienists, dental students, and others also participate.