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February 2011

For the past six years, the Southeastern District Health Department in Idaho has led a community coalition that provides dental care to underserved children.

We Are Public Health 2011-02

This story features the work of Southeastern Idaho Public Health.

We are public health.
We work with partners to give children healthy smiles.

For the past six years, Southeastern Idaho Public Health has led a community coalition that provides dental care to underserved children. Give Kids a Smile is a nationally-sponsored annual event held in Pocatello, Idaho.

Children receive a dental exam, x-rays, dental cleaning, and preventive treatment (fluoride varnish and sealants), as well as home care instructions. If restorative treatment is needed, children are referred to area dentists who will volunteer their time to provide no-cost treatment. In 2010, the program provided over $33,000 worth of dental services to children in the Pocatello area.

Families are enthusiastic. One parent says, "The people doing Give Kids a Smile make it a fun and exciting experience for my kids. Without it, I would not be able to get them dental care every year."

Give Kids a Smile is a collective effort of the Southeast Idaho Dental Society, Idaho State University Department of Dental Hygiene, Idaho State University Dental Residency program, Southeastern Idaho Public Health, and Delta Dental of Idaho. Karla Alex, of Southeastern Idaho Public Health says, "It is a great coming together of people who are interested in child oral health. These people just step up to the plate and get it done."