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Statehouse Atrium to be Site for Children's Dental Access Event - Ohio Legislators to Mingle With Children and Dentists for This Free Care Event!

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 175 students from the Academy of Columbus, an Imagine charter school, will receive free dental care at the sixth annual Give Kids A Smile! Day state kick-off in Columbus on Friday, Feb.1.

This year's official state kick-off will be held in the Atrium at the Ohio Statehouse with dentists, dental volunteers, students and faculty from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, legislators and other dignitaries participating. At the event, students from the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades will receive free dental screenings, fluoride varnishes and Toothprints. Several children will also receive restorative care that day in the OSU mobile dental unit, the Dental Health Outreach Mobile Experience (H.O.M.E.). The dental volunteers and mobile unit will return to the Academy of Columbus at a later date to examine and provide needed care to the other grades.

Give Kids A Smile! is an annual program developed by the American Dental Association and held by the Ohio Dental Association in an effort to help underserved children receive needed dental care and to raise awareness about access to dental care.

Dr. Henry Fields, president of the Ohio Dental Association and former dean of the OSU College of Dentistry, said the awareness of GKAS is important. "I think the value of GKAS is to highlight the needs of children who continue to need care for the most basic of health needs like dentistry and specifically in Ohio where dental health is the number one need for the underserved and minority populations," he said. "Further, it provides recognition to those in the dental profession willing to volunteer and provide free care to those in need. What better celebration than to draw attention to those in need and those trying to erase the disparity?"

The official kick-off will also launch other Ohio GKAS day events in Ohio that day and throughout the year in which children who would otherwise not be able to seek or afford dental care will receive education, oral hygiene instruction, screening, preventative and restorative care.

A $7,000 grant awarded by the Delta Dental Fund will enable the dental volunteers to provide Toothprints for the children. Toothprints can be used as a means of identification in the unfortunate circumstance of an unidentified child. The grant will also help fund printing of a booklet, "Brushing up on Smiles," to educate parents on why children need to establish a relationship ith a dentist early.

Give Kids A Smile! Day Ohio would not be successful without its volunteers and support. In addition to services and materials provided by American Dental Association, Ohio Dental Association and the Delta Dental Foundation, national support is provided by Colgate, Sullivan-Schein Dental, U.S. dental division of Henry Schein, and Dexis Digital X-ray Systems, Inc. New this year is DenTek Oral Care Inc., which provided 150,000 flossers to GKAS programs nationally.

The Ohio Dental Association serves 5,500 members in Ohio - 80 percent of Ohio's practicing dentists. For more information on public service programs, oral health issues, and dentistry in Ohio, visit - Ohio's resource for oral health.

SOURCE Ohio Dental Association
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