On February 5th, many institutions and volunteers put their efforts together and created the event “Give Kids A Smile”. The event was meant to offer free dental care to children in need.
Volunteers teamed up with UNLV School of Dental Medicine, Roseman University, the Southern Nevada Dental Society, and many dentists from all around the country. Sponsors made everything possible that around 5.5 million children all around the country received free dental services.
All 137,000 dentists gathered for the event, together with more than 420,000 volunteers, thus creating one of the most important national event related to dental care and hygiene.
This year, Las Vegas Valley hosted their 15th event. Those responsible with the event declared that the majority of kids who received dental care via Give Kids A Smile were also enrolled in the Medicaid program. In spite of this, they receive minimal to no dental care. Therefore, more than 200 volunteers, including dental students, hygienists, and assistants offered the necessary services to these kids.
Dr. Wendy Woodall, professor at UNLV School of Dental Medicine, declared that many children did not get the chance to benefit from proper dental services. As a consequence, they have many cavities in their teeth, apart from other problems. These poor tooth conditions cause lack of concentration, pains, and problems with sleep. Also, they might have some emotional implications, causing many of the patients to have low self-esteem, for example.
Official health reports support the claims of Dr. Woodall. They show that children aged between 2 and 11 suffer from lack of concentration and sleeping issues due to poor dental hygiene. Also, cavities are associated with a lower self-esteem in patients and they are known to affect the overall health. Thus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. are highly supportive of this initiative.
The first Give Kids A Smile event was hosted for the first time in 2002. Since then, the Southern Nevada Dental Society held 14 more. Immediately after the first event was held, the American Dental Association popularized the event in the entire country. Now, children in need can receive good dental care without having to pay for the services.
After 15 years, around 1,500 such events are hosted everywhere in the United States and more than 350,000 children benefit from free dental services.
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