NEW ORLEANS (press release) – LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry and the New Orleans Dental Association (NODA) are partnering to Give Kids a Smile on Feb. 22. Students at Esperanza Charter School are expected to take part in the  Give Kids a Smile Day event, which will be at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry, 1100 Florida Ave., beginning at about 9:00 a.m.

When the children arrive, they’ll be divided into groups, which will rotate through stations. Activities include outdoor sports and activities to promote physical fitness; dental hygiene how-to’s featuring brushing, flossing and nutrition activities; as well as a photo booth for fun mementos of the day. The Tooth Fairy and her friends Tooth and Sparkle will bring to life lessons on how to keep mouths healthy and smiles sparkling. NODA and LSU Health New Orleans dentists, dental and dental hygiene students, and dental residents will screen and clean the children’s teeth, applying sealants where warranted. The groups will continue to rotate until all of the children have participated in all of the activities.   

The latest statistics reported by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry include:

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood and remains an epidemic among our nation’s children.

Nearly one in five U.S. children under the age of five experienced dental caries (cavities) in 2015–2016.

Children from low-income and minority families are particularly vulnerable to dental disease, as are children with special health care needs.

According to the ADA Foundation, “Give Kids A Smile program was launched nationally in 2003 as a way for dentists to join with others in the community to provide dental services to underserved children. Each year, 350,000 to 400,000 children benefit from more than 1,500 events, all because of the efforts of  volunteers nationwide.”