AP NEWS

Give Kids a Smile 2019 offers free dental care for kids

January 31, 2019 GMT

To prevent tooth decay, Southeastern Idaho Public Health is partnering with ISU and area dentists for “Give Kids a Smile Day.”

Give Kids a Smile is a national event sponsored by the American Dental Association, that will be held locally, in Pocatello, on Feb. 1-2 at the Idaho State University Dental Hygiene Clinic, 999 Martin Luther King Drive (Building No. 37).

The following local groups are donating time and services to this year’s event: Southeastern Idaho Dental Society, Idaho State University Dental Hygiene Department, Idaho State University Dental Residency Program, Southeastern Idaho Public Health, and the Idaho State Dental Association.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease found in children: it is 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever.

The social impact of oral diseases in children is substantial. More than 51 million school hours are lost each year to dental-related illness. Children from lower-income families suffer nearly 12 times more restricted-activity days than children from higher-income families. Pain and suffering due to untreated diseases can lead to problems in eating, speaking, and attending to learning.

Dental professionals will provide eligible Pocatello and Southeast Idaho children, who are preschool age through 8th grade, an opportunity to receive dental exams and treatment at no cost. All children seen will receive a thorough examination by a dentist, and preventive services (tooth cleaning, fluoride varnish, sealants, and oral hygiene instruction). If restorative care is needed, families will be referred to area dentists that are donating services to Give Kids a Smile. Over 20 dental offices are participating in this year’s event!

This event is targeted toward families that have limited access to dental care. WIC income guidelines establish the criteria needed for a child to receive services; however, families DO NOT need to be on WIC to participate in the event. Proof of income (e.g., pay stub, last year’s taxes) is needed to participate.

Families that have children in need of dental services and that fit the eligibility guidelines are encouraged to make an appointment as soon as possible by calling Dana Solomon at Southeastern Idaho Public Health at 208-239-5256. If more information is needed, call April Sluder at 208-478-6314.