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Give Kids a Smile: the Children’s Dental Initiative

This post was sponsored by Give Kids A Smile as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I mention sometimes how we are on a tight budget and how there are things that we go without sometimes in order for me to stay home with our three kids but at the end of the day we are a very privileged family. I’ve never lived without good health insurance, including dental, and our kids benefit from the great healthcare that comes as a benefit of my husband’s job. For that reason, we’ve always made it to the kids’ six month dental checkups and it’s just assumed around here that if they have a dental issue that needs to be address, we can get it taken care of right away.

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So when I found out that half of all kids start Kindergarten with tooth decay, I was so sad. It’s hard to think about a little person heading off to school for the first time, trying to keep up with all the new routines and the new faces, and then battling a toothache on top of it. Even sadder is the thought that that kid might get teased or feel bad about himself because he has a problem with his teeth that is noticeable to other kids. As we found out this year, life can be pretty rough at five years old. That’s not an extra burden that kids should have to carry around.

Give Kids a Smile (GKAS) is a volunteer organization where dental professionals donate their time to kids who need free dental care. They provide services and, with the help of volunteer teachers, parents, and other health care professionals, they educate kids and their families on what they can do to take care of their teeth at home. So far, they have reached more than 5.5 million underserved children in all 50 states! GKAS is celebrating their 15th anniversary this month and I’ve partnered up with them to bring awareness about the program and about the fact that you can’t ignore kids’ teeth just because those teeth are baby teeth. Tooth decay is the real deal, even when the teeth are tiny.

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To keep decay from forming on your kids’ teeth, make sure they:

  • brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes (a tooth timer helps but we also use the occasional Disney song to keep them going)
  • floss once a day
  • eat healthy meals (sticky carbs like bread can be as bad for teeth as sugar so be aware of that!)
  • visit the dentist at least once a year and don’t delay dental visits if you suspect that your child has a dental problem

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If you need dental services for your kids but you can’t afford them, you can learn more about the GKAS initative by visiting http://ADAfoundation.org/GKAS. You can also find them on Facebook if you’re interested in volunteering to help fight the silent epidemic of tooth decay in kids.

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