February 26, 2018
Northern California children were left with brighter smiles after receiving free dental check-ups, oral health screenings and other services from University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry as part of "Give Kids a Smile" events held this month in San Francisco and Union City.
At the February 24 event in San Francisco, nearly 130 children received dental check-ups, cleanings, fluoride treatment, sealants, orthodontic evaluations and health gift bags. Volunteer dental students also provided oral health games and educational information to attendees. After receiving dental care, children played with cuddly animals at the Little Explorers Petting Zoo set up outside the school. There was even a face painter and balloon artist on hand to entertain and engage the children and their parents. Each attendee received more than $150 in complimentary dental care thanks to the efforts of volunteer students, faculty and staff.
In Union City, the Dugoni School's Union City Dental Care Center partnered with the Southern Alameda County Dental Society to hold a "Give Special Kids a Smile" event held on Feb. 10. Volunteers offered free dental screenings to children and adults with physical and/or developmental disabilities. Students, faculty, staff and numerous volunteers from Eden Area ROP, Southern Alameda County Dental Society and Cal State East Bay Pre-Dental Club provided $28,695 worth of free dental care to 42 patients. Special guests included California Assemblymember Dr. Bill Quirk, California State Dental Board Vice Chair of the Access to Care Committee Dr. Steven Chan and Fremont City Councilmember Suzanne Chan.
Each year, the Dugoni School participates in the nationwide "Give Kids a Smile" program to serve local children and families, including those who may not have a dental home. "Give Kids a Smile" was started by the American Dental Association in 2003 as a way to encourage dentists to connect with their communities by providing dental services to underserved children.
These special events offer children and families the opportunity to learn about oral health and have fun. The events also help raise awareness about the important role of ongoing dental care. Tooth decay is the most common chronic illness among school-age children in California and is four times more common than childhood asthma, according to Children Now. By kindergarten, more than 50 percent of children in California have already experienced dental decay and 28 percent have untreated decay. California students miss an estimated 874,000 days of school each year due to dental problems and children who reported having recent tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low grade point average.