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Michigan Dentists Giving Free Dental Care to Low-Income Children During Annual 'Give Kids a Smile' Program Starting February 6
Date:2/3/2009

LANSING, Mich., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm has declared February as National Children's Dental Health Month in Michigan, and starting Friday, February 6, 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 seventh annual "Give Kids a Smile" campaign where dentists donate their services to disadvantaged children who don't have access to dental care.

In Michigan it is estimated that nearly $1.4 million in dental care will be provided by 615 dentists throughout the state.

"We realize there are thousands of disadvantaged children in Michigan who are not able to receive regular dental care," said Joanne Dawley, 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 Dawley.

"It's important to remember," according to Dawley, "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 Dawley. "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.

It is shocking that dental disease is the most common chronic childhood disease in this country, five times more common than asthma. Yet, dental disease is p
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SOURCE Michigan Dental Association
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