USC University of Southern California

Giving Kids Healthy Smiles

 

More than 100 students of St. Agnes Catholic School, a member of the USC Family of Schools, received free oral health screenings and education as a part of Give Kids a Smile Day 2010.

Give Kids a Smile Day is the American Dental Association’s annual outreach effort to encourage communities and policymakers to address the critical issue of children’s oral health and is held each year on the first Friday in February. This year, the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC and thousands of other organizations provided free dental care to kids at more than 2000 sites across the U.S. on February 5, ushering in February’s National Children’s Dental Health Month.

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 A St. Agnes student receives an oral health screening.

Ostrow School of Dentistry students performed the oral health screenings and taught kids about the importance of taking good care of their teeth. Each student also received gift bags full of oral hygiene supplies as well as a free book courtesy of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.

Dental caries, the bacterial infection responsible for tooth decay, is the most prevalent chronic illness in children and affects 72 percent of underprivileged kids under five in Los Angeles. It’s critical for the Ostrow School of Dentistry to help the community battle potentially serious oral health problems in children, said Roseann Mulligan, Chair of the Division of Dental Public Health and Pediatric Dentistry.

 

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 Class of 2013 members Karla Basa, Edward Rugama and Sahar Hamedani share oral health knowledge with students.

“These events not only help bring care to children, but also make others aware of the silent epidemic of dental caries in children and the resources needed to fight it,” Mulligan said.

 

Rebecca Cohen, a first year Advanced Pediatric Dentistry resident, agreed. “It’s really important to come out here and work in the community,” she said. “So many kids in Los Angeles have untreated caries, and for many of them it’s been a very long time since they’ve seen a dentist.”

See this story on USC News