LSU Health and Dental Partners Team Up to Give Kids a Smile

LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry and the New Orleans Dental Association (NODA) are partnering to Give Kids a Smile on Feb. 23. About 180 children from Esperanza Charter School are expected to take part in the Give Kids a Smile Day event, which will be at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry, 1100 Florida Avenue, from 8 a.m. – 12 noon.

When the third-, fourth- and fifth-graders arrive, they will be divided into groups which will rotate through four stations. While a magician entertains one group, another group will participate in NFL Play 60 physical activities and drills on the intramural athletic fields. Others will play carnival games. Dental hygiene faculty and students, along with the Tooth Fairy and her friends Tooth, Paste, and Sparkle will bring to life lessons on how to brush and floss with another group. This activity also includes a fun lesson on tooth-friendly and unfriendly foods and drinks and other demonstrations on ways to keep smiles bright. NODA and LSU Health New Orleans dentists, dental and dental hygiene students, and dental residents will screen and clean the remaining group’s teeth, applying sealants where warranted. The groups will continue to rotate until all of the children have participated in all of the activities. A dress-up photo booth will help the kids remember the fun they had that day. The event will wrap up with a healthy lunch.

Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, according to the United States Surgeon General. It is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever.  More than 50% of children ages 5-9 have at least one cavity or filling, and that proportion increases to 78% among 17-year-olds. A New York study found that preschool children with tooth decay are more likely to be overweight or obese than their peers. Regardless of weight, children with dental disease are more likely to consume too many calories. A French study finds a significant link between body mass index and the number of decayed, missing, and filled teeth among adolescents.   

Give Kids a Smile Day in New Orleans is sponsored by LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry, New Orleans Dental Association, ADA Foundation, Campus Federal, Colgate, Henry Schein, Kavo-Kerr, RIMS, and Emily Green Photography.