Doctor of Dental Medicine students at Roseman University organized an event to provide free dental care to 46 children from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake. It was part of Give Kids a Smile, a national event started by the American Dental Association that provides free dental care to hundreds of thousands of children at more than 1,500 events nationwide throughout the year.

Healthy lifestyles are a key component of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake, and Give Kids a Smile provides an opportunity for children to get free dental care. This is especially critical for children who do not have dental insurance, and may not be able to get this care otherwise.

“Untreated childhood dental decay affects about 16 million children in the U.S. every year, and is particularly prevalent in families that do not have insurance. Dental decay can contribute to a variety of issues including pain, missed school days, improper speech development, and difficulty sleeping and concentrating,” said Dr. Aaron Ferguson, Assistant Professor at Roseman University College of Dental Medicine and faculty advisor for the student group that organized Give Kids a Smile. “Fortunately it is also one of the most treatable conditions, and Roseman University dental students are excited to offer some basic dental care as well as education about caring for teeth that these children can use at home to improve their oral hygiene.”

Club members get at least 30 minutes of physical activity and healthy snacks at the local Boys & Girls Club, according to LeAnn Saldivar, CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake, but sometimes they don’t have access to quality health and dental care. To bridge that gap, Boys & Girls Club partners with organizations like Roseman University to get the care that children need to be healthy, regardless of whether or not they have insurance.

“It was so neat to see the smiles on the kids faces as they left our clinic,” said Cory Halterman, third-year dental student and one of the event organizers. “We all felt great after helping them.”