Ostrow Students and Faculty Help Local Children Have Healthy Smiles
Photos and text by Keni Nooner
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism ’15
Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC students and faculty produced dozens of smiles during 2013’s Give Kids a Smile Day on Feb. 1.
Nearly 100 children, ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade, were given free oral health screenings, including 70 students who received prevention treatments.
The event, part of the nationwide American Dental Association initiative that annually kicks off Children’s Dental Health month, brought the Ostrow School’s Neighborhood Mobile Clinic vans to visit the children of Weemes Elementary.
Oral health issues affect Californians every day. In fact, more than two-thirds of California’s youth suffer from poor oral health by the time they reach the third grade, and seven percent of children miss school due to dental issues, according to the California Health Care Foundation.
The Neighborhood Mobile Clinic program seeks to provide continuous care. The vans not only come this one day but also come back later in the spring to do sealant procedures, staying as long as it takes to see every child in need.
Many of the children in attendance shared that they were happy with their results. Mo-nyae, a third grader, reported, “I have no cavities!”
For others who experienced significant tooth pain, they received a $100 dollar voucher that would go towards further dental care.
After finishing their screenings, the kids were given goody bags with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and toys: a smiley face ring, temporary tattoo, and tooth-shaped bubbles. They were also given a free book from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, which donates books to clinics around the area.
The tooth fairy even came to visit, reminding all of the children to take care of their teeth and be ready for their big kid teeth.
Third grader Jasmin Truillo got the chance to take a picture with the tooth fairy, saying, “I’ve lost a tooth before, so this is too cool!”
After getting her teeth screened, one young girl also happily proclaimed, “I didn’t like the dentist before, but now I love it!”