While all the cities across the country celebrating National Children's Dental Health month with free dental care for children are special, there may be one that stands above them all.
The Give Kids A Smile program started in 2002 in St. Louis with the singular mission of providing free dental care to children who may not have access, possibly because of a lack of dental insurance. The next year, the American Dental Association (ADA) adopted the program and made it a national initiative.
This year is the eighth annual Give Kids A Smile Program for the city that started it all.
"Thank you, St. Louis. Thank you for having the vision. And thank you for your courage," said ADA president John Findley to volunteers last week. The president added the lack of access for some children was increasingly severe and that "no child in the U.S. should have to go to bed with dental pain."
Recently, it was reported approximately 12 million children in the country have difficulty finding access to dental care.
Since the free dental care program was implemented in St. Louis, more than 7,000 St. Louis-area children have benefited from more than $2 million worth of care.
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