This day kicks off the Give Kids a Smile Program by the American Dental Association.
Every year, thousands of oral health professionals across the country volunteer their time and talent at local events to provide a range of free dental services and education to children in need as part of the ADA Foundation’s Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) program. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental caries, or cavities, are the most prevalent infectious disease in children in the U.S., affecting more than 40 percent of infants and preschoolers by the time they reach kindergarten and about half of all children from lower-income families.
History of Give Kids A Smile Day
In 2002, Drs. Jeff Dalin and B. Ray Storm held the first Give Kids A Smile® (GKAS) event in a run-down, soon-to-be-demolished dental clinic in St. Louis, where 15 patient chairs were scraped together to deliver free dental care to nearly 400 children. in 2003, Give Kids A Smile evolved into a nationwide program with the collaboration of the ADA, Henry Schein, Procter & Gamble, and DEXIS.
Since 2003, more than 5.5 million children have been cared for by more than half a million volunteers. Give Kids A Smile remains a critical piece of the ADA’s Action for Dental Health, a nationwide, community-based movement aimed at ending the dental health crisis facing America today. It is designed to address the dental health crisis in three distinct areas: 1. Provide care now to people who are suffering from untreated disease, 2. Strengthen and expand the public/private safety net, and 3. Bring disease prevention and education into communities.
Brush, Book, Bed—The American Academy of Pediatrics program to help families establish a healthy nighttime routine that includes brushing teeth, reading together, and a regular bedtime. Visit the site for free resources to start a program in your office.
You can volunteer for a GKAS program or donate to the Give Kids a Smile website. You can also hold GKAS events. Being a part of this charity program and awareness effort truly gives kids something to smile about.