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Serving the community by providing excellent dental care for children

by Julie Heflin, HSC communications and marketing last modified Feb 09, 2014 07:32 PM

Dental and dental hygiene students, along with faculty, staff and a host of community volunteers, spent their day on Feb. 7 working to improve the smiles of 116 children from schools in Henry, Jefferson and Meade counties.

The effort was part of Smile Kentucky!, a community partnership that tackles what the U.S. Surgeon General has called the number one common, chronic childhood disease -- tooth decay. The event, held at the UofL School of Dentistry, corresponds with the American Dental Association’s national Give Kids a Smile Day.

Prior to treatment day, dentists and dental hygienists go to selected area schools and perform free oral health screenings to children in third - sixth grade. Health educators teach children in the entire school how to brush and floss their teeth properly, the importance of visiting a dentist and how to make healthy snack and drink choices.

Parents receive a report on the dental screening results. Smile Kentucky! invites children with no dental coverage to receive free dental care, ranging from cleanings to fillings or extractions the first Friday in February.

Established in 2002, Smile Kentucky! is considered a national model for community partnerships. More than 150,000 children have taken part in education programs, 40,000 have received a free dental screening, and 3,500 have received free dental treatment valued at $1.2 million.

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