The effort was part of Smile Kentucky!, a community partnership that tackles what the U.S. Surgeon General has called the number one common, chronic childhood disease — tooth decay. The event, held at the UofL School of Dentistry, corresponds with the American Dental Association’s national Give Kids a Smile Day.

Prior to treatment day, dentists and dental hygienists go to selected area schools and perform free oral health screenings to children in third – sixth grade. Health educators teach children in the entire school how to brush and floss their teeth properly, the importance of visiting a dentist and how to make healthy snack and drink choices.

Parents receive a report on the dental screening results. Smile Kentucky! invites children with no dental coverage to receive free dental care, ranging from cleanings to fillings or extractions the first Friday in February.

Established in 2002, Smile Kentucky! is considered a national model for community partnerships. More than 150,000 children have taken part in education programs, 40,000 have received a free dental screening, and 3,500 have received free dental treatment valued at $1.2 million.

Julie Heflin
Julie oversees digital content for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She began her UofL career on the Health Sciences Center campus in 2007. Prior to this, Julie was a journalist with WFPL (Louisville Public Media), and occasionally filed reports for National Public Radio.