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The New Jersey Dental Association (NJDA) has announced that it will provide a free dental clinic to school-age children in an attempt to combat the insufficient level of dental care throughout the state.
The Give Kids a Smile! (GKAS) Children's Dental Access Day will serve more than 80 schools and thousands of children under the age of 12 on February 5, 2010, the Township Journal reports.
"We are looking forward to a breakout year with GKAS in 2010," Dr Cavan Brunsden, a New Jersey dentist and statewide chairman of the program, told the news source.
He added, "I'm so proud to be a part of a profession that takes its responsibility to the healthcare of children seriously and takes measures to demonstrate this responsibility in a very public way."
A 2000 report from the U.S. Surgeon General estimated that children missed about 51 million hours of school due to dental-related illnesses.
Additionally, about one-third of all U.S. children do not have dental insurance, making them 2.5 times less likely than insured children to receive adequate dental care.
In eight years since its establishment, the KGAS program has treated about 460,000 children each year, though some health officials warn that free clinics often deny patients suitable avenues for follow-up care.
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