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Michigan Dentists Giving Free Dental Care to Low-Income Children During Annual 'Give Kids a Smile' Program Starting February 1
Date:1/29/2008

LANSING, Mich., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- February is National Children's Dental Health Month and starting Friday, February 1, thousands of children throughout the state will receive free dental services ranging from dental fillings to oral health screenings to complete treatment. It's part of the American Dental Association's sixth annual "Give Kids a Smile" campaign where dentists donate their services to disadvantaged children who don't have access to dental care.

During last year's "Give Kids a Smile" events in Michigan, 329 Michigan Dental Association-member dentists, along with hygienists, assistants and volunteers provided dental care and oral health education to 37,310 children. It is estimated that over $800,000 worth of dental care was provided to needy children.

"We realize there are thousands of disadvantaged children in Michigan who are not able to receive regular dental care," said Steve Dater, DDS, president of the Michigan Dental Association.

"While 'Give Kids a Smile' day will help some children get the dental care they desperately need, I worry about the thousands of children who aren't here today--the ones who continue to have trouble eating, sleeping and paying attention in school because their teeth hurt and are in such bad shape," said Dater.

"It's important to remember," according to Dater, "that a healthy body starts with a healthy mouth. Untreated dental disease is painful and can affect a child's physical, emotional and social development. Oral health must be considered part of primary care."

"A one-day event like Give Kids a Smile is not a cure-all, it's a wake-up call," said Dater. "Here in Michigan, one percent of the total Medicaid budget is allocated to dental services for both children and adults. Dentists want to be part of the solution, but we can't solve the access problem on our own."

Michigan is fortunate to have the Healthy Kids Dental program that provides de
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SOURCE Michigan Dental Association
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