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Millions of children in the United States go without the oral care and dental care they need each year. When kids go without the dental care they need, they can have trouble sleeping, eating, paying attention in school and, of course, smiling.

National Give Kids a Smile Day is here to put a healthy smile on every kid’s face!

History of National Give Kids a Smile Day

National Give Kids a Smile Day was established in 2002 by two dentists in St. Louis, Missouri. This first celebration of the day gathered together fifteen dental chairs to give free dental care to almost 400 children in a dental clinic that was about to be demolished.

From those humble beginnings, the National Give Kids a Smile Day initiatives went national and were sponsored by the American Dental Association. It is now a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. The purpose of the day and the organization is to give oral health care to children who are underserved and in need of dental care that they otherwise might not receive.

While helpful oral care and dental events can happen all year long, the kickoff event for the year happens on the first Friday in February, which is National Give Kids a Smile Day.

How to Celebrate National Give Kids a Smile Day

Everyone will be smiling brightly when they implement some of these ideas for celebrating and enjoying National Give Kids a Smile Day:

Host a National Give Kids a Smile Day Event

Schools, churches and community organizations can all help celebrate National Give Kids a Smile Day by hosting an event in a place where kids can be gathered and helped. The organization offers planning tool boxes for hosts, which includes program guides, waivers, promotions, patient resources, games, activities and more.

Make a Donation to Give Kids a Smile

As a nonprofit organization, Give Kids a Smile is always happy to receive donations to help underwrite the cost of free dental care clinics for children, whether through a personal donation or sponsorship by a business. Perhaps consider helping out for the National Give Kids a Smile Day by making a tax-deductible donation to the cause.

Perhaps this would be a great time to get involved with a local charity event held by the Give Kids a Smile charity by donating free toothbrushes, dental floss, mouthwash or other dental care supplies to children who need them.

Learn Important Facts About Children’s Dental Care

In appreciation of National Give Kids a Smile Day, consider learning a bit more about the ways that children can be helped with oral and dental care. Here are some to get started:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 children between the ages of five and eleven have untreated cavities, which can lead to tooth infections and other serious problems.

  • Some kids need fluoride dental treatments from their dentists in order to properly protect their teeth.

  • Kids need to start early to learn proper dental hygiene for their teeth. Brushing and flossing is important in removing sugars and bacteria that can turn into plaque and cavities.

  • Children should go to the dentist every six months, starting when they begin getting their first tooth, or at one year old, whichever comes first.

Get Your Dentist to Volunteer

Those who want to advocate for National Give Kids a Smile Day might consider mentioning the day to their dentist or dental hygienist. Perhaps suggest that they might want to volunteer to help out at a Give Kids a Smile Day program by offering their skills, abilities and services. It’s a great way to advocate for and support the events as they help out children in the local community.

Read a Book About Dental Care to Kids

Parents, grandparents, teachers and other important adults in the lives of kids might want to celebrate National Give Kids a Smile Day by reading a book about oral health and dental care to the kids in their lives. A wide variety of different books for children of all ages have been written to help encourage and motivate kids to take care of their teeth, as well as lowering their fear of visiting the dentist.

Get started by reading one of these kids’ books about dental care to the children in your life, and bring a huge smile to their face:

  • The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss (2003). Explore all of the things that teeth can do as they grow, and learn how to keep them in the best shape.
  • Just Going to the Dentist (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer (2001). Little Critter books have been leading kids through life’s experiences for decades. This little book shares the experience little critter has like going for a checkup, getting an x-ray, having a cavity filled or just getting a teeth cleaning.
  • The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan Berenstain (1981). A classic book that continues to encourage children, this one features Mama, Papa, Brother and Sister on a trip to the dentist – including a visit from the Tooth Fairy.
  • Daniel Goes to the Dentist by Alexandra Cassel Schwartz (2019). A Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood book, based on the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood character, this is a sweet storybook that is perfect for children who are preparing to visit the dentist for the first time.

Brush Up on the American Dental Association

The American Dental Association has more than 160,000 members and has been on the cutting edge of dental care science and the profession of dentistry for more than 160 years. The organization advocates for public health by providing access to dental care, gathering data, and offering resources that continue to promote dental health.

National Give Kids a Smile Day has been sponsored by the American Dental Association for two decades. Members, volunteers, hosts, sponsors and dental team members all work together to make these events happen, helping thousands of children who would otherwise not have the access they need to oral health care and dental services.

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