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Give Kids A Smile Program Celebrates 15th Year

Update Date: Feb 04, 2017 11:12 AM EST

On Friday, the ADA Foundation's Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) program kicked off nationwide as it celebrates its 15th year anniversary. It was started for the purpose of helping children who didn't have access to dental care. Hundreds and thousands of children receive free oral health education, screening, preventive care, and treatment services.

More than 550,000 volunteer dentists and dental team members gather every year for the program. More than 5.5 million children have received free oral health services since GKAS started.

Sat Press Releases reported that Rutgers School of Dental Medicine in Newark, NJ has hosted this year's national GKAS kickoff. More than 300 children went to the event and got pro bono dental screenings, examinations and preventive treatments from more than 100 Rutgers students and faculty volunteers.

Hundreds of children from Essex County grade school were given free cleaning, fluoride treatment, an oral health goody bag, and advice on taking care of their gums and teeth. Other schools have also participated in the program, such as RSDM Galloway, Somerdale, and Northfield clinics, and Rutgers' School of Health Related Professions in Scotch Plains.

Cecile A. Feldman, Dean of Rutgers School of Dental Medicine said that Rutgers was greatly honored to help raise public awareness to the importance of oral healthcare for children. Feldman said "Because of GKAS, millions of smiles are brighter."

The Rutgers even was one of at least 1,300 Give Kids A smile events scheduled throughout 2017. According to Fox21, almost 70 kids from Lake Superior College dental facility also got free dental care. Eight volunteer dentists from the community took part in the event.

Sponsors including Henry Schein, Inc. have served products since 2003. Care Credit, a healthcare financing provider, has been the founding donor of the ADA Foundation's GKAS Fund.

In 2002, the GKAS program originated in St. Louis. The ADA launched GKAS nationally in 2003, and the program has since grown to big events. For more information about Give Kids A Smile programs taking place in your area, you may call 844.490.GKAS (4527) or contact your state or local dental association.

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