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Scott AFB dentists, assistants help ‘Give Kids A Smile’

Service members and civilians assigned to the 375th Dental Squadron dental clinic sponsored “Give Kids a Smile” day event March 9, 2019, held on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.  The program offered children without insurance the opportunity to make an appointment with the dental clinic and receive free dental care from trained professionals.     (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez)

Service members and civilians assigned to the 375th Dental Squadron dental clinic sponsored “Give Kids a Smile” day event March 9, 2019, held on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. The program offered children without insurance the opportunity to make an appointment with the dental clinic and receive free dental care from trained professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez)

A child receives dental treatment during the “Give Kids a Smile” day event March 9, 2019, held by the 375th Dental Squadron clinic on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.  Children registered for the event were given the chance to receive cleanings, fillings, and more to at no cost to their parents.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez)

A child receives dental treatment during the “Give Kids a Smile” day event March 9, 2019, held by the 375th Dental Squadron clinic on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Children registered for the event were given the chance to receive cleanings, fillings, and more to at no cost to their parents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez)

Airman Shaina Nehs, 375th Dental Squadron dental assistant, volunteered to dress up as the “tooth fairy” to provide friendly encouragement to the visiting children before, during, and after their treatment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez)

Airman Shaina Nehs, 375th Dental Squadron dental assistant, volunteered to dress up as the “tooth fairy” to provide friendly encouragement to the visiting children before, during, and after their treatment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez)

A child receives dental treatment during the “Give Kids a Smile” day event March 9, 2019, held by the 375th Dental Squadron clinic on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.  Children registered for the event were given the chance to receive cleanings, fillings, and more to at no cost to their parents.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez)

A child receives dental treatment during the “Give Kids a Smile” day event March 9, 2019, held by the 375th Dental Squadron clinic on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Children registered for the event were given the chance to receive cleanings, fillings, and more to at no cost to their parents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez)

Capt. Kristi McElroy, 375th Dental Squadron general dentist, and Virginia Bennett, Chief of Preventive Dentistry, set aside a moment for a photo following the kickoff of the “Give Kids a Smile” day event March 9, 2019, held by Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.  Bennett and McElroy were both vital to the planning of the event as well as personally providing treatment to the children who attended.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez)

Capt. Kristi McElroy, 375th Dental Squadron general dentist, and Virginia Bennett, Chief of Preventive Dentistry, set aside a moment for a photo following the kickoff of the “Give Kids a Smile” day event March 9, 2019, held by Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Bennett and McElroy were both vital to the planning of the event as well as personally providing treatment to the children who attended. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Members of the 375th Dental Squadron helped “Give Kids a Smile” to children 13 years and younger on March 8 by providing free dental care such as cleanings as part of their month-long effort to support education and awareness objectives during National Children’s Dental Health Month.

“Honestly we just wanted children to get dental care, and this event was important for parents who did not have the opportunity to take their child to be seen by a dentist or who do not have dental insurance for them,” said Capt. Kristi McElroy, 375th DS general dentist.

“We’re seeing a rise in cavities in children ages 2 to 5, with 70 percent of all cavities being found in children 5 and under,” she said. That’s why she and others on the staff also made several visits to locations around base to hand out free dental merchandise, demonstrate the correct ways to brush and floss, and emphasize the importance of healthy eating choices for children of varying age groups. 

Virginia Bennett 375th DS chief of preventive dentistry, said “We visited the Child Development Centers, the library, and even brought the Tooth Fairy to make the idea of educating children about oral hygiene fun. We also did oral hygiene presentations for children who are home-schooled, and for those at the Youth Center, and an afterschool programs.”

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