CHICAGO, Jan. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Dental Association (ADA) and Smile Kentucky! are collaborating with Henry Schein Dental, the U.S. Dental business of Henry Schein, Inc., Colgate-Palmolive Co., and DEXIS, LLC, to kick off this year's national Give Kids A Smile® program on Friday, Feb. 1, at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in Kentucky. Approximately 40 dentists, 200 dental students and 100 other community members will donate their time and expertise to perform comprehensive dental care on approximately 300 underserved children from area schools.
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"One of our top goals in Louisville is to create a much healthier city for people of all ages, no matter their background or where they live," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. "Making meaningful progress takes entrepreneurial thinking and strong public-private partnerships. Led by our own Louisville Water, Smile Kentucky! has been a world-class model of collaboration."
Smile Kentucky! is one of the premier state programs nationwide with 150 local groups collaborating to provide more than $1 million in services since the program's inception in 2002. The ADA's national Give Kids A Smile® program provides oral health services to children in need and emphasizes the need for government agencies to allocate adequate funding for those services."Our dental school is dedicated to improving the oral health of Kentucky's children – that's why we suspend our normal clinical operations the first Friday in February – in order to focus our facility, faculty, staff and students, more than 300 people, on the Smile Kentucky! effort," said John J. Sauk, D.D.S., M.S., dean, University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Tooth decay affects approximately 28 percent of U.S. children 2 to 5 years old and 58 percent of U.S. children 12 to 15 years old, according to a 2007 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet most state Medicaid budgets allocate approximately 2% or less for dental services, according to the ADA.