LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

Dental Partners Team Up to Give Kids a Smile

The LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry and the New Orleans Dental Association (NODA) are teaming up to Give Kids a Smile. About 120 third-graders from ReNew McDonough City Park Academy are expected to take part in the 2017 Give Kids a Smile Day. The event will be at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry, 1100 Florida Avenue, on February 10, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon.

When the youngsters arrive, they’ll be divided into groups, which will rotate through four activities. While a magician and dental students entertain one group with games promoting oral health and a magic show, the Tooth Fairy, along with her friends Tooth, Toothpaste and Sparkle, will bring to life lessons on how to brush and floss with another group. This activity also includes a station staffed by LSU Health New Orleans dental hygiene faculty and students featuring oral hygiene information and demonstrations. UNO and LSU pre-dental undergraduate students will provide outdoor activities to promote physical activity and fitness. NODA and LSU Health New Orleans dentists, dental and dental hygiene students, and dental residents will screen and clean the remaining group’s teeth. The groups will continue to rotate until all of the children have participated in all of the activities. The third-graders will also get to choose a Mardi Gras mask. The day will wrap up with a healthy lunch sponsored by NODA.

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Tooth decay is on the increase and has become epidemic among the youngest children in the U.S. A rapid form of tooth decay, known as early childhood caries (ECC), is the most common disease faced by young children. It is five times more common than asthma. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, by the age of three, 5-10 % of American children have oral health issues. By the age of five, approximately 60% of children in the U.S. will have had cavities. Children from low-income and minority families have a higher incidence of oral health issues. This group of children is less likely to see a dentist, and their disease is more than twice as likely to go untreated.
Give Kids a Smile
The American Dental Association launched the Give Kids A Smile program nationally in 2003 as a way for dentists across the country to join with others in their community to provide dental services to underserved children. The program initially began as a one-day event in February, but has since grown to local and national events year-round. Dentists and other team members volunteer their time, and services, to provide screenings, treatments and education to children throughout the United States. More than five million underserved children have received free oral health services. These free services are provided by approximately 10,000 dentists annually, along with 30,000 other dental team members.