Atlanta, GA., Feb 23, 2015
In recognition of February as National Children's Dental Health Month, Kool Smiles – a leading provider of quality dental care in underserved communities nationwide –will provide free lesson plans and toothbrushes to K-5 classrooms in an effort to promote good dental health habits for young children.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the United States, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now reports that more than one-in-five kids from ages two through 19 have untreated cavities – which can cause pain and infection, and lead to problems with eating, speaking, and learning. Therefore, for the third consecutive year, Kool Smiles continues its educational efforts to provide comprehensive dental health lesson plans for teachers and families, and distribute free toothbrushes to students across the country during Children’s Dental Health Month.
"The job of dental providers is multi-faceted," said Polly Buckey Boehnlein DDS, MS, Diplomat of American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and Managing Dental Director for Kool Smiles. "Each day we provide vital dental care to patients. We are also passionate about educating our patients and families about good dental hygiene, which can prevent costly oral health issues later in life. That is why Kool Smiles is expanding its efforts this month to reach out beyond our office doors and into our communities and classrooms in order to promote good dental health among our youngest citizens."
Kool Smiles’ free dental lesson plans and toothbrushes for K-5 teachers can be used as tools for promoting good dental health in the classroom. The lesson plans include age-appropriate activities and discussion questions to facilitate learning. Teachers who download the lesson plans from the Kool Smiles website are also given the option to have free toothbrushes sent to their classrooms.
Last year, Kool Smiles provided lesson plans to 1,234 teachers across the United States, impacting 34,223 K-5 students nationwide. Free toothbrushes were provided to more than 28,000 students in 960 classrooms. In 2015, Kool Smiles aims to do even more.
"Kool Smiles serves a number of patients who have never seen a dentist, some of whom do not have toothbrushes or toothpaste at home," said Dr. Boehnlein. "One of the best ways to reduce the risk for cavities and other dental problems is through education. That's why we are firmly committed to expanding education beyond the dentist’s chair and into classrooms across the country, where we can make a tangible impact on the greater community. Teachers are some of our most valued allies in the battle against tooth decay and we look forward to working with educators everywhere to help improve the health and wellbeing of our kids."
Teachers who are interested in downloading the free lesson plans should visit http://www.mykoolsmiles.com/dentallessonplans.
Founded in 2002, Kool Smiles has over 125 affiliated dental practices across 15 states and the District of Columbia, primarily in underserved communities that have historically lacked access to dental care. As recently as January 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that approximately 45 million Americans live in "dental care shortage areas." According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), approximately 80 percent of dentists do not accept patients with Medicaid or State Children's Health Insurance Plans (SCHIP), citing, among other reasons, low reimbursement for their services. Kool Smiles helps provide a safety net for these patients who often are not aware of the importance of good dental health practices and regular check-ups at the dentist.