Dental care event will help underprivileged kids

Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY -- A new report shows one in five children in the U.S. go without dental care. Some Utah dentists are trying to help lower those numbers with a charity event on Saturday.

As part of the 6th annual Give Kids a Smile event, local dentists, hygienists and dental assistants will donate their time to treat underprivileged children who may not otherwise receive any dental care. The professionals expect to treat about 550 kids at four different locations in the state.

The children have been preselected, many with the help of their schools. The kids come from low-income families and often don't have dental insurance. That is a big factor when it comes to tooth decay.

Dr. Joe Mirci, a family dentist, said, "These low-income kids generally have twice as many cavities as kids that have insurance."

Dr. David Johnson, a dental professor at the University of Tennessee, said, "Their family incomes are less than $20,000. They're 10 times more likely to have unmet dental needs as a child who comes from a family whose income is greater than $50,000."

"Oral health is a basic for your general health," Dr. Mirci pointed out. "If kids don't have good oral health, they can't develop properly."

Dentists say good oral health should start at a young age.

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows tooth decay is on the rise for preschoolers. Kids 5 to 7 years old are estimated to lose more than 7 million school hours every year because of dental problems. The underprivileged population is experiencing the worst of it.

The local dentists say they can't treat everyone who needs help but they can make a difference.

This year's Give Kids a Smile event is expected to be much larger than in the past. Dentists and other volunteers will donate around $250,000 worth of dental care.

Dentists will give exams and do the most necessary work -- fillings, extractions, miniature root canals -- on site. Children will receive vouchers to continue their care with a local dentist.


Related links

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics

Tonya Papanikolas


    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast