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Keep on smiling: Dental event aims to prevent tooth decay in kids

Give Kids a Smile Day
Dental chairs at ISU are filled for 'Give Kids a Smile Day.'

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The annual 'Give Kids a Smile Day' was hosted by Idaho State University and Southeastern Idaho Public Health Saturday.

Families packed into ISU's Dental Hygiene Clinic for some good, clean fun. 

"It’s so fun, they get to get their face painted, make buttons, they also get X-rays, a cleaning, they do dental sealants," SIPH's April Sluder explained of the day.

Sponsored by the American Dental Association, 'Give Kids a Smile Day' aims to prevent tooth decay in kids. 

"Today, we’re doing all the preventative care," Sluder said. "Any kid that has any restorative care - like any concerns, cavities - we send them to local dentists in southeast Idaho … and I refer all of them to those dentists, so they’re able to get all of their care for free."

Many of those interacting with the nearly 100 kids are ISU students.

"I think it’s kind of great to get more of an idea of how it’s going to be in real life," senior Sophia Dell-Colli said.
Dell-Colli said days like Saturday are a great experience, putting more patients in front of her than ever before. While kids, or adults for that matter, aren’t generally excited about going to the dentist, things are different at this event.  

"We just try and make it really welcoming and inviting for the kids, so that if this is their first with dental care, they’re getting comfortable with it being a fun experience," she said.

As a whole, the event is a win-win for everyone involved. 

"I think teaching your kids to go to the dentist on a regular basis, setting those examples really early on, and you know those families that do not have dental insurance," Sluder said.

"It can be really costly going to the dentist every six months, especially if you have a large family, and so that’s one of the biggest things, they’re able to get all of their care for free and then also get a lot of education out of the event, too."

In 2019, the event provided nearly $50,000 in services to local kids.

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