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Pacific to Host Free Community Dental Events as part of National Children’s Dental Health Month

Students give the Pacific Tiger a check-up.

February  01, 2011

Hundreds of children from low-income families throughout Northern California will receive oral health education and free dental screenings this February thanks to the dedication of students and faculty at University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Through events in San Francisco, Union City, Calif., and Stockton, Calif., students, faculty and volunteers from the dental community are collaborating to make a difference in the lives of local families.

As part of National Children's Dental Health Month, the dental school's Union City Dental Care Center will host Give Kids A Smile® on Feb. 5. Through a partnership with the Southern Alameda County Dental Society, nearly 80 dental professionals, residents, auxiliary staff and other volunteers will join together to provide free screenings and more complex procedures such as fillings and extractions to attending children. Kids and parents will also receive oral hygiene instructions, toothbrushes and toothpaste. The event, which also features family entertainment, will be held from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Union City Dental Care Center located at 1203 J Street in Union City. For more information, call 510.782.5442.

Furthering University of the Pacific's commitment to community service efforts throughout Northern California, students, faculty and staff in Stockton will screen and treat children at a separate Give Kids A Smile® event, also to be held on Feb. 5. Volunteer dentists from the San Joaquin Dental Society will team up with students and staff to provide screenings, treatment, education and entertainment. The event will be held from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Pacific's Chan Family Health Sciences Learning Center located at 757 Brookside Road in Stockton.

Stockton's Pacific Dental Care Clinic will also continue its relationship with the Lincoln Unified School District. Throughout the months of January and February over 400 children will be bussed to the clinic for a free visual exam and fluoride varnish. Any children who have visible decay and do not have a primary dentist will be offered a follow-up appointment for treatment at no cost. Residents in the Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program and Dental Hygiene students will participate in these important screening events.

In San Francisco at the school's Hutto Patterson Pediatric Dental Clinic, free dental screenings will be offered throughout the month of February. With a pre-booked appointment, children from birth to age 14 will receive a free visual exam to identify any trouble spots in the mouth, learn oral health tips and receive a dental gift bag with toothbrush. The school is located at 2155 Webster Street in San Francisco. Appointments must be made in advance by calling 415.929.6550.

"Children's Dental Health Month is a great time to prioritize educating children and their parents about the importance of a healthy mouth," said Dr. Jeff Wood, chair of the Pediatric Department at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. "The events being hosted by the dental school this February will help many families, including those who may not have access to dental visits on a regular basis. These events will help contribute to a lifetime of healthy teeth and mouths for many children."

According to a study issued in early 2010 by the Pew Center on the States, three out of every four children who live in poor families have untreated cavities, and fewer of those kids are making regular visits to their dentists than in previous years. A separate study from the Centers for Disease Control shows that nearly one in four children aged two to 11 have untreated cavities in their baby teeth.

Give Kids A Smile® is a national event annually sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA). Thousands of Give Kids A Smile® events take place throughout the United States each February. Give Kids A Smile® is an annual centerpiece to National Children's Dental Health Month, also sponsored by the ADA, to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and provide oral health education to all children despite their economic status.

Category Type: Community Outreach, General

Contact:  Office of Public Relations, 415.929.6434, pr@pacific.edu