The Indiana University (IU) School of Dentistry will provide an estimated 250 underserved children with free preventive dental services on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020.
The free Give Kids A Smile event will be held from 9:30 am to 1 pm at the IU School of Dentistry on the IUPUI campus at 1121 W. Michigan St., Indianapolis, Ind., 46202. Dental school faculty and students will provide free dental screenings, fluoride treatments, and preventive oral health care. Children also will receive goodie bags with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and oral hygiene instructions. Face painting, coloring, and games will entertain families as well.
“Financial barriers are a major reason people forgo necessary oral health care, Said Dr. Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, dean of the IU School of Dentistry. “Give Kids a Smile is one of the many ways the dental school helps underserved families receive the oral healthcare they need, and engages with our community here in Indianapolis to reduce barriers to accessing this care”
The IU dental school operates two pediatric clinics that accept Indiana Medicaid, one at the dental school and the other at Riley Hospital for Children. In addition to Give Kids A Smile, the dental school provides free preventive oral health care around the state through SEAL Indiana and across the globe through its Global Service Learning volunteer experiences.
“The high volume of patients participating in charitable events like Give Kids A Smile highlights a clear gap between those with and without access to oral health care,” said IU School of Dentistry alumnus Dr. Jeffrey Dalin, who graduated from the IU School of Dentistry in 1980 and founded Give Kids A Smile in St. Louis, Mo., in 2002. “Oral health is an important indicator of a child’s overall health.”
Nearly one in four children under the age of five already has cavities, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many children enrolled in Medicaid receive no oral health care services throughout the year.
Give Kids A Smile events are held across the country to:
- Provide free, easily accessible dental services to qualifying individuals.
- Raise awareness of the epidemic of untreated dental disease occurring locally and nationally
- Increase access to high-quality oral health care for underserved communities.
After Dr. Dalin founded Give Kids A Smile, the ADA Foundation launched the program nationally in 2003 as a way for dentists to join with others in the community to provide oral health care services to underserved children. Each year, about 350,000 to 400,000 children benefit from more than 1,500 events because of the efforts of 40,000 or more annual volunteers nationwide.
Dr. Dalin’s son, Andy Dalin, is a fourth-year dental student at Indiana University and a co-organizer of the dental school’s 2020 Give Kids a Smile event. Dr. Tawana Ware, an IU pediatric dentist, is the faculty sponsor.
To register for free oral health care for children at Give Kids A Smile on Feb. 7, 2020, please emailIUGKAS@iupui.edu. Participants may enter the dental school through the Fritts Clinical Center main entrance on Barnhill Street.