First of all, Give Kids A Smile Day is WAY more than you might think. I literally thought it was just how it sounds – a day to give kids a smile, spread joy, let them know that everything’s going to be okay. Just another cheesy observance to go with the plethora of other strange national days that grace our calendars. Holla if you were celebrating National Fruitcake Toss day on January 3 or have a big rager planned for National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk day coming up on February 11…
Anyways… if you haven’t already Googled “Give Kids A Smile Day”, here’s the scoop from their own Facebook Page:
“Give Kids A Smile is the ADA Foundation’s signature access to care program, with events taking place throughout the year. These events kick off annually on the first Friday in February, which is Give Kids A Smile Day. Thousands of dentists and volunteers give their time to provide free oral health education, screenings, and treatment to underserved children.”
Maybe I’ve been living under a rock. I did, however, confirm with several other moms before writing this that I was, in fact, not the only one who was totally uninformed. So, in case you are like me and have just found out that this awesome initiative exists… here’s what you need to know.
1. THIS MATTERS.
Again, from the Give Kids A Smile Facebook Page: “According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly one in four children under the age of five already has cavities*. And a disproportionate share of tooth decay, approximately 80 percent, is suffered by our poorest children**” It is clear that our oral health and overall health are tightly linked, so it’s important to help get kids started off on the right foot.
2. This is an ongoing initiative.
Yes, free dental care on the big day and throughout the month of February (Children’s Dental Health Month) is a large part of it, but there are events nation-wide throughout the entire year. On top of the events that actually provide the dental care, is an equally important focus on advocacy and raising awareness for this massive need that charity care alone cannot solve.
3. YOU can be a part of it!
Want to utilize this care? According to mndental.org, “Give Kids a Smile is for any child whose family faces financial or other challenges accessing dental care. No eligibility questions are asked, in an effort to remove any possible barrier to care.”
Looking to help? Volunteer or make a donation!
Be sure to follow the Minnesota chapter of Give Kids A Smile on Facebook for more information and updates!
So now that you know that there’s this great program out there that you can: A) utilize to support your child’s oral health, or B) donate to and help ensure this care can continue… you can feel good about going on with your day and also getting ready to celebrate Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day (also Feb 7), Do a Grouch a Favor Day (Feb 16), and of course this popular mom favorite, National Drink Wine Day (Feb 18).
Oh, and while you’re at it, smile at some kids today.