It was a very happy day for more than 1,000 underserved and special needs children who received free dental screenings and oral hygiene instruction at a “Give Kids A Smile” event.
Dentists, dental residents, dental students, hygienists, and other medical professionals participated in the Nassau County Dental Society’s 21st annual event for children ages 5-9 on February 2nd at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, LI. More than seven million children have been served nationwide—about 18,000 locally—since the event began in 2003.
“This event is so important for the underserved in our community,” said Joseph Brofsky, DMD, section head of pediatric dentistry at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park. “Dental disease is preventable and needs to be stopped before you have a problem. No child should have to go through life with painful dental issues.”
The event, which puts the focus on children’s access to oral care, is part of an initiative by the American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) to help underserved children. This year’s event sponsors are the ADAF, Henry Schein, Inc., Jet Blue, the Nassau Academy of Dentistry, the Long Beach Lions Club, Northwell Health, ProHEALTH, Farmland Fresh Dairies, Fidelis Care, Liberty Dental, Sports Depot, Bagel Plaza of Merrick, Patken Photography and Vivo Entertainment.
Dental decay remains the most common chronic childhood disease. Low-income children suffer twice as much with dental decay as those from more affluent families. There are many thousands of children in this country who can’t eat or sleep properly, can’t pay attention in school, and can’t smile because of untreated dental disease.
“Without relief, these children will face lifelong health problems—not just dental health, but overall health—and difficulty getting good jobs, to say nothing of the lack of confidence and self-esteem caused by their inability to smile,” said Dr. Brofsky.
“Henry Schein has been the exclusive professional product sponsor of Give Kids A Smile since its national launch in 2003, and we are pleased to once again support the Nassau County Dental Society’s event together with our supplier partners and Northwell Health,” said Harris Lieberman, regional manager, Long Island, Henry Schein. “The program exemplifies Henry Schein’s commitment to expanding access to care for those who need it most because it is critically important to help set children up for a lifetime of good oral health and overall health.”
The 21st annual “Give Kids A Smile” event included complimentary screenings and fluoride varnish, sealants, along with oral hygiene supplies to take home and lessons on how to maintain a healthy mouth.