The New York State Dental Foundation has recently awarded a $5,000 grant to Happy Smiles, Happy Friends, a dental health initiative coordinated by Bassett's School-Based Health Centers.
The funding, which was made possible by the Give Kids a Smile program, will go toward a new program designed to help identify and treat underprivileged children with cavities.
"We believe that if we can identify children at risk for cavities at an earlier age, we can prevent or control the development of cavities later on by applying a fluoride varnish to their teeth," said Dr Chris Kjolhede, director of Bassett's School-Based Health Program.
"Of course, that reaps all sorts of rewards because a child's oral health is so closely tied to their overall health," he added.
Since 2001, the Happy Smiles, Happy Friends program has provided students with cleanings, fluoride treatments, nutritional counseling and classroom education regarding dental health.
Childhood tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease. Every year, more than 51 million school hours are lost because of dental-related illnesses.
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