by Terry Rogers
On Saturday, February 1, Diamond State Dentistry will open its doors to provide free dental services for children. The event, known as “Give Kids a Smile,” is a nationwide program that began in 2003 as a collaboration between the American Dental Association and sponsors that included Henry Schein, Procter & Gamble and DEXIS.
“The event is to provide free oral healthcare to underserved children,” Dr. Andrea Puddicome said. “Since the event was created, more than 5.5 million children have received treatment. We will be offering free dental screenings, cleanings, fluoride treatment, sealants, fillings and extractions on Saturday. We just ask that parents call us to set up an appointment so we know how many children to expect.”
Dr. Puddicome said that she and her partners, Dr. Lucinda Bunting, Dr. Philip Sels and Dr. Halleh Asadpour feel it is critical to participate in such an important event. In addition to the free services offered to children that day, the dentists and staff will provide awareness and prevention tips for both parents and children. The event helps those who may not be able to receive dental treatment any other way.
“Starting dental care at a young age will help instill good habits as they grow and become adults,” Dr. Puddicome said. “Baby teeth are important for eating speaking and development. National awareness is growing as many are learning the connection of dental health to overall systemic health and how important it is for children to begin receiving dental care at an early age. Children should start seeing a dentist as soon as their first toot erupts or around the age of one.”
According to Dr. Puddicome, parents should be helping their children brush their teeth twice each day with fluoride toothpaste as well as helping them floss daily to prevent the formation of cavities. It is also recommended that sugar beverages, candy and junk food be limited in order to promote better oral hygiene. Taking a child to the dentist at least twice each year for a cleaning and check up is important in order to monitor dental health, growth and development.
“If a parent is frightened of the dentist, it is important to keep their fear contained as children feed off their parents,” Dr. Puddicome said. “We want a child’s experience to be a positive one and, if a parent is using negative phrases or terms, the child will be scared also. By using positive words and encouraging them to come at an early age, we can overcome this fear and create a positive experience.”
The Give Kids a Smile event is designed for school-aged children and will be held at the Diamond State Dentistry office located at 215 West Liberty Way. To schedule an appointment for the event, contact 302-424-7976.
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