Inquisitive minds seeking answers, great physical and emotional growth, an abundance of play and plenty of smiling—that’s what childhood should be all about.
For young ones who suffer from tooth decay and infection, such positive memories of childhood may be slipping fewer and farther between. Some low income families may sadly discover access to basic yet much needed dental care appears far beyond their reach.
That’s why in 2003, the American Dental Association (ADA) launched a program that encouraged ADA members to collaborate with other willing participants in the community to provide vital dental services to children in need—the Give Kids a Smile Program (GKAS) was born.
The Growth of Give Kids a Smile Program
Over the years, GKAS has evolved tremendously. Initially instituted as a one-day-event, the program has developed into many similar events that occur numerous times throughout the year. In fact:
- Over 400,000 under-served children were helped by over 1500 events last year.
- These events were made possible by some 40,000 volunteers, including thousands of dentists.
- Since 2003, nearly 4.5 million children have been cared for by almost half a million volunteers. That’s a lot of smiling faces!
- Today, Give Kids a Smile is the ADA’s signature access-to-care program and is the nation’s largest proactive approach to help children from low income family’s care for their dental needs.
Those assisting include numerous dental students, dentists, as well as other team members and community volunteers. By volunteering their expertise, time, and services, they’re able to provide much needed screenings, treatments, and educational services to children throughout the entire country.
Thank you GKAS!
Each year, the first Friday in February is designated as Give Kids a Smile day. So on Feb. 7, 2014, GKAS kicked off at Howard University in Washington DC! Events such as this have a huge impact on improving the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of children in need—providing them with a legitimate reason to smile proudly. We applaud each and every one of the thousands who have volunteered to help make those young smiles a healthy reality.
Healthy, happy smiles do not happen by accident. Making the effort to teach your children how to maintain healthy teeth and gums is a crucial factor. It’s one that affects their overall well-being, reaching into adulthood. Promote good oral hygiene with healthy eating, and regular dental visits with Dr. Lindahl, a leading dentist in Maryville.
Let us know: Share what you do to make it fun for your kids to keep their smiles healthy.