Give Kids A Smile names 80 sites in Ohio

More than 2,000 dentists and other volunteers at over 80 sites will participate in Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) day, reaching 16,000 children, according to the Ohio Dental Association.

February 5 is the official date for the eighth annual program initiated by the ADA, but it has grown to more than one day. Some sites will do all that can be done on February 5, while others will examine children on one day and offer free follow-up care, including restorations and oral surgery, on later dates or hold events on multiple dates, the organization said.

The Ohio association estimated the dollar value of the donated services this year at more than $1 million.

The president of the Ohio association, Steve Simpson, D.D.S., of Cleveland, said the need to educate all Ohioans about the importance of good oral health remains strong.

GKAS also helps strengthen legislators' awareness about the access to dental care problem that exists in Ohio and throughout the U.S. "This program is about providing free dental care to children in need as much as it is about educating legislators on how their policies can impact the health of Ohioans of all ages," Dr. Simpson said.

Access to dental care continues to be Ohio's leading unmet healthcare need, according to the Ohio Department of Health's report, "Oral Health and Access to Dental Care for Ohioans, 2010", the association said.

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