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28th MDG hosts 2nd annual Give Kids a Smile Day

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --

The 28th Medical Group Dental Clinic hosted their second annual “Give Kids a Smile Day” for all dependent Air Force children ages zero to 17, Feb. 15, 2017.

The event focused on providing free dental care to children and raising awareness about the importance of good dental health.

“The day is a great opportunity for us to provide free dental services to dependent Air Force children,” said Staff Sgt. Stefanie Dahl, a registered dental hygienist assigned to the 28th Medical Operations Squadron. “Maintaining good dental care is important for all but is especially vital to teach children early on in order to help prevent major dental problems in the future.”

Established by the American Dental Association in 2003, National “Give Kids a Smile Day” began as a one-day event held during the month of February, but throughout the years has grown to year-round local and national events serving approximately 350,000 to 400,000 children.

“It’s an important event where we are able to not only provide dental care to children but also educate them on how to properly take care of their teeth,” said Capt. Cory Peterson, a dentist assigned to the 28th Medical Operations Squadron. “From dental screenings to sealant treatments, we are able to provide the necessary care.”

In addition to the treatment and care provided by the 28th MDG dental clinic personnel, Peterson was able to get the event sponsored by the American Dental Association enabling the dental clinic to attain all necessary supplies.

 “It was great because all the products and supplies were donated free of charge for this event,” Peterson said. “We didn’t use any Air Force dollars to get this started or buy anything for it, everything from fluoride to napkins and gauss was donated; it was big plus for us.”

Interacting with the kids, teaching them how to practice proper dental hygiene and making them laugh; these dentists provide families with a push in the right direction. However, for the families who were unable to make it there are steps they can take to ensure their child’s dental health remains intact.

“If people weren’t able to make it I’d like to recommend active airmen sign their families up for the Tricare dental insurance,” Peterson said. “Their families can be seen by a dentist in the local community and get regular dental checkups.”