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North Carolina 'Give Kids A Smile!' Project Treats Close to 20,000 Children

CARY, N.C., April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The 6th annual North Carolina "Give Kids A Smile!" day of free dental care resulted in 19,719 children being treated across the state, a 26% increase over 2008. The value of free services totaled $1.97 million, an increase of $710,000 (56%) compared to last year. The event took place Feb. 6.

Almost 2,000 (1,989) dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and other volunteers took part in the program, which was among the largest of its kind in the country.

"The huge increases we saw in the number of patients and the level of care delivered is indicative of the growing dental access to care problem in North Carolina," said NCDS Executive Director, Dr. M. Alec Parker.

"We believe this problem is being aggravated by the worsening economy. Not only are many children not able to see a dentist regularly, the kinds of oral problems we're seeing are growing increasingly severe because they're not being treated early."

Over the past 6 years, 105,319 North Carolina children have been treated in the "Give Kids A Smile!" program. This amounts to $8.7 million in free dental care.

"Give Kids a Smile!" is a nationwide dental education and awareness day, with free oral health care to as many children as possible during national "Children's Dental Health Month," sponsored by the American Dental Association and state dental societies.

In North Carolina, "Give Kids A Smile!" is sponsored by several organizations, including the N.C. Dental Society, N.C. Oral Health Section, N.C. Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, N.C. Dental Assistants Association, UNC School of Dentistry, N.C. Community Colleges, and local dental societies.

SOURCE North Carolina Dental Society
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