Touro Dental Health Hosts 2nd Annual Give Kids A Smile! Event
Free Dental Care and Oral Health Education Provided to Nearly 50 Children
On February 6th, Touro Dental Health, the 81-chair dental practice of Touro College of Dental Medicine, hosted its second annual Give Kids A Smile! (GKAS) event in partnership with the Ninth District Dental Associate.
TCDM students, faculty, and volunteer dentists from the community came together to provide free dental screenings, cleanings, fluoride, and orthodontics consultations, as well as oral health education to nearly 50 children from across the region.
GKAS is a program of the American Dental Association, hosted by dental providers across the country each year in February during national Children’s Dental Health Month. The event, now in just its second year at TCDM, was first established in conjunction with Dr. Renuka Rao Bijoor, Ninth District Dental Association ambassador. This year’s GKAS was significantly expanded and open to the public, encouraging local parents to get their children up to date on their oral health care while offering a variety of engaging activities, designed to foster good oral hygiene at home. Young patients and their families also enjoyed music, food and entertainment, including an appearance by the tooth fairy and a superhero named Captain Cavity Fighter.
“Oral health education is definitely the most important part of our GKAS program,” said Erin You, a third year dental student who played a major role in organizing this year’s event. “We had a lot of fun coming up with activities that kids of all ages would enjoy while also learning something new that can positively impact their brushing, flossing an eating habits.”
Lea Chernoff, also a third-year dental student who was on the event planning committee, says the event was definitely a success. “For me, it's all about the kids. The best part was seeing the enthusiasm in their faces while they learned how to take care of their teeth,” Chernoff says.
The goal for many GKAS events is to help find a dental home for children in need, and this was another successful aspect of this year’s event at TCDM.
“GKAS is an opportunity for our students to appreciate the level of need in our own backyard, and to foster a spirit of giving back that we hope will stay with them as they return to serve their own communities,” said Melissa Levine, D.D.S. Director of Pediatric Dentistry at TCDM. “We’re thrilled that many of these families have made the decision to return for ongoing care that will help improve their long-term dental health.”
TCDM students say they can’t wait for next year’s event which promises to be even bigger and better. With 110 additional students from the next class joining in June as dental providers, TCDM will have greater capacity to reach many more children in need and is already looking for partners to help build the program.