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National Children’s Dental Health Month Community Dental Events to be Hosted by Dugoni School of Dentistry

January  31, 2012

Northern California children from low-income families will receive oral health education and free dental screenings this February thanks to the dedication of students, faculty and staff at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Free events in San Francisco, Union City, Calif., and Stockton, Calif., will bring volunteer students, faculty and others from the dental community together to make a difference in the lives of local families during February's Children's Dental Health Month.

On Feb. 4, volunteer students, faculty and staff in Stockton will partner with the San Joaquin Dental Society to screen and treat children at a Give Kids A Smile® event. Free screenings, treatment, education and entertainment will be offered to attendees who visit the event, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pacific Dental Care Clinic, 617 Brookside Road, just west of Pacific Avenue. For more information visit: http://www.sjds.org/.

For the fourth consecutive year, Stockton's Pacific Dental Care Clinic will also continue its relationship with the Lincoln Unified School District. Toward the end of January, approximately 300 children will be bussed to the clinic for a free visual exam and fluoride varnish. Any child enrolled in the Lincoln Unified School District who participates in the screenings, has visible decay and does not have a primary dentist will be offered a follow-up appointment for treatment at no cost. Dental School faculty, residents in the Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Program and Dental Hygiene students will participate in these private screening events.

Furthering Pacific's commitment to community service, the dental school's Union City Dental Care Center will host a separate Give Kids A Smile® event on Feb. 4. Through a partnership with the Southern Alameda County Dental Society, more than 80 dental professionals, residents, auxiliary staff and other volunteers will join together to provide free screenings and more complex procedures to attending children. Kids and parents will also receive oral hygiene instructions, toothbrushes and toothpaste. The event, which also features family entertainment, will be held from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Union City Dental Care Center located at 1203 J Street in Union City. For more information, call 510.782.5442.

In San Francisco at the school's Hutto Patterson Pediatric Dental Clinic, free dental screenings will be offered throughout the month of February. With a pre-booked appointment, children from birth to age 14 will receive a free visual exam to identify any trouble spots in the mouth, learn oral health tips and receive a dental gift bag with toothbrush. The school is located at 2155 Webster Street in San Francisco. Appointments must be made in advance by calling 415.929.6550.

"Children's Dental Health Month is a great opportunity for dental professionals to educate families and give tips on how to make dental health a priority," said Dr. Jeff Wood, chair of the Pediatric Department at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. "The events being hosted by the dental school in February will help many families, especially those who may not have access to dental care on a regular basis or who have postponed treatment due to financial reasons."

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Foundation, of the 4 million children born each year, more than half will have cavities by the time they reach second grade. A study issued in 2010 by the Pew Center on the States, shows that three out of every four children who live in poor families have untreated cavities, and fewer of those kids are making regular visits to their dentists than in previous years.

Give Kids A Smile® is a national event sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA). Thousands of Give Kids A Smile® events take place throughout the United States each February. Give Kids A Smile® is an annual centerpiece to National Children's Dental Health Month, also sponsored by the ADA, to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and provide oral health education to all children despite their economic status.

For more information about Give Kids A Smile® and local events, including the events in Stockton and Union City, visit: http://givekidsasmile.ada.org.

Category Type: Community Outreach, Special Events

Contact:  Office of Public Relations, 415.929.6434, pr@pacific.edu