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ADA 'Give Kids A Smile' Events Provide Dental Care to Children from Low-Income Families
Date:2/2/2009

CHICAGO, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- With dental disease among pre-schoolers on the rise, the American Dental Association (ADA) is mobilizing dental professionals in a national campaign to extend necessary care to children and adolescents from low-income families.

On Feb. 6, during the seventh annual ADA Give Kids A Smile(R) program, some 45,000 dental professionals will provide free services to as many as 500,000 children at more than 1,600 sites. St. Louis Cardinal first baseman and National League MVP Albert Pujols has joined with the ADA to support Give Kids A Smile by starring in several television public service announcements.

Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) is the ADA's major oral health outreach program, launched to encourage parents, health professionals and policymakers to address this important health issue. GKAS will provide educational materials, screenings and, where possible, free dental care such as cleanings, X-rays and fillings.

Participating dentists and dental team members hope to diminish the current four percent rise in dental caries (cavities) -- the first rise in 50 years -- among pre-schoolers, ages 2-5, reported by the CDC in April 2007.

"There have been enormous advances in dental science in recent years but among America's low-income and minority children, oral health is still a critically unmet health care need," said ADA President John S. Findley, D.D.S. "Though many children will benefit from the services provided through Give Kids A Smile, our concern is for the countless others who continue to suffer from untreated dental disease. Oral health is related to overall health and it's important that policymakers strengthen dental provisions in public health programs to help put children on the road to good health!"

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting American children, five times more common than asthma. The ADA recommends that child
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SOURCE American Dental Association
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