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The nonprofit organization Oral Health America sponsors numerous initiatives to promote dental health care in the U.S. One of these, the Smiles Across America program, offers grants to smaller, like-minded groups throughout the country. Kids Smiles, a Pennsylvania-based children's dental care advocacy organization, is the most recent recipient of one of these grants.
According to Dentistry IQ, the grant was given in response to Pennsylvania's recently-assigned low grade of a D in the latest Pew Center on the States report on dental care for economically disadvantaged children. Kids Smiles has worked for a decade to defy the problematic issues that led to this assessment, principally by raising awareness of oral health issues among children in inner-city areas.
One of the flagship Kids Smiles initiatives is its Education Outreach Progam. This involves providing dental screenings and services as well as related education to schools and community groups in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Cheryl Jannsen, CEO and executive director of the organization, stated the crux of Kids Smiles' mission.
"Offering a child-friendly, stable dental home and health education in undeserved communities is essential to treating dental disease and, just as importantly, creating healthy personal habits," she said.
The National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research states that 42 percent of U.S. children aged 2 to 11 have dealt with tooth decay in their primary teeth.
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