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Give Kids A Smile Program


Published on Feb 14, 2020


About 60 Polk County children received free dental screenings and dental care as a part of the Give Kids A Smile program, which was held at Traviss Technical College earlier this month.

Promoted nationally by the American Dental Association, most dental programs like this focus on education. The Give Kids A Smile program in Polk County is a little different. 

Thanks to Traviss Technical College’s Dental Program, 50 students, staff and volunteers used their skills to provide free dental screenings and treatments, as well as education, to children in need.

Oral health is very important to overall health. Cavities, or tooth decay, is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the U.S. Left untreated, cavities can cause pain and infections, which in turn may lead to problems eating, speaking, playing, and learning. According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 children between 5 and 11 years old have at least one untreated, decayed tooth. 

Services provided during the Give Kids A Smile event included exams, x-rays, cleaning, oral hygiene and nutritional instructions, as well as a fluoride varnish application when advised.

In order to qualify for this program, children must be between 5 and 18 years old.  Parents or legal guardians must provide a valid Polk County photo identification; and, either four pay stubs (one month’s worth) or income tax returns in order to prove financial need.

Applications for next year's event, which is held in February, begin in October. To apply, call Traviss Dental Clinic at (863) 499-2700 ext. 385.

The children who received care during the Feb. 7 Give Kids A Smile event would likely have gone without the care they needed. Polk County’s Indigent HealthCare Division is proud to support the funds for this program.