ADA’s National ‘Give Kids A Smile®’ Kicks Off Feb. 7

/ PRNewswire / — The American Dental Association (ADA) kicks off its 12th national Give Kids A Smile® program Friday, Feb. 7. Dental professionals from across the nation are mobilizing to provide free oral health services to children and adolescents from underserved families throughout this year. As of this date, approximately 350,000 are registered, with more expected to register throughout the year.
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Give Kids A Smile has become the world's largest oral health charitable program and an ADA access-to-care endeavor designed to encourage parents, health professionals and policymakers to address the year-round need for oral health care for all children. Each year, thousands of the nation's dentists, dental team members and many volunteers from the community provide free oral health care services to children from low-income families across the country.

"With the recent implementation of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare is on everyone's mind. There is more to be done to help alleviate the silent epidemic of tooth decay," said ADA President Charles H. Norman, D.D.S.

The ADA's Health Policy Resources Center estimates that about 8.7 million children are expected to gain some form of dental benefit from the Affordable Care Act, which will reduce by approximately 55 percent the number of children without dental benefits.

"There are barriers beyond finances that need to be addressed, including education and transportation," said Dr. Norman. "Give Kids A Smile is designed to help the underserved, but also deliver a message to elected officials that more needs to be done."

Give Kids A Smile is a component of the ADA's national community-based access campaign Action for Dental Health: Dentists Making a Difference. Action for Dental Health aims to reduce the numbers of adults and children with untreated dental disease through oral health education, prevention and providing treatment now to people in need of care.

The national kickoff event will take place Feb. 7 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The ADA's national Give Kids A Smile program would not be possible without volunteers and continued generous support of sponsors Henry Schein Dental, Colgate and DEXIS. For more information about Give Kids A Smile, visit the GKAS website, www.givekidsasmile.ada.org, and for the latest news, visit the GKAS Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GiveKidsASmile

2014 Give Kids A Smile by the numbers

Dental and other community volunteers: 37,500

Each year, approximately 450,000 children benefit from more than 1,500 events. Number of Give Kids A Smile sites in 2014: approximately 1,525.

Since 2003, GKAS has provided dental services for nearly five million children.

Editors: Most Give Kids A Smile events require advanced registration, usually through schools and social service clubs and agencies. For more information, visit www.givekidsasmile.ada.org.

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About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit www.ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website www.MouthHealthy.org.