Give Kids a Smile

At 18 months, Allisson Garcia is too young to realize the importance of tooth brushing and regular dental visits. She was still and quiet on her father's lap while dental students in scrubs used an over-sized toothbrush and mouth to show her and her family proper brushing technique, then remained cooperative on her mother's lap while the volunteers examined and cleaned her teeth.

The Venice toddler was one of about 200 young patients who took advantage of free check-ups and cleanings at The Children's Dental Center of Greater Los Angeles on Feb. 5. The event was part of National Children's Oral Health Month and the American Dental Association's Give Kids a Smile program.

The First 5 LA grantee and its partners at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Pediatric Dentistry spent the day examining the small mouths at the clinic's Smile Store, Shannon Kelly Toothfairy College and in a mobile oral health trailer in Inglewood. They used puppets, puzzles and other toys to teach children and their parents about proper dental hygiene.

The Children's Dental Center received a $300,000 grant from First 5 LA that allowed it to increase the number of children 0-5 they treat, according to Dr. Steven McKane, the center's chief program officer. The Center, he said, is based on the “dental home” model where patients receive education and care in an inviting setting. “It's more than just a drill and fill place,” McKane added.

Last year, more than 24,000 children received screenings at the Center, none of them paying more than $45, McKane said. No one pays more than they can afford because low-income families should not have to choose between oral health care and putting dinner on the table, he added. “You just can't beat that – and it's high-quality care equivalent to that of a private practice,” McKane said.

The free event provides care for many kids who didn't know they had tooth decay problems and establishes, for many of them, a relationship that McKane said he hopes will last.

California Assemblyman Steven Bradford (DInglewood) stopped by the clinic during the event. “This is a fine example of where you have a one-stop-shop in a community where they not only receive education, but (are) provided with care and preventive care,” Bradford said.

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day Indigenous Peoples' Day — while not a federal holiday — is recognized on the second Monday in October by many cities and states in the United States, including the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County and California. The day...

Celebrating Filipino American History Month

Celebrating Filipino American History Month

Celebrating Filipino American History Month Each year, the United States recognizes Filipino American History during the month of October. As the second-largest Asian American group in the country and the third-largest ethnic group in California, Filipino Americans...

For This New Mom, a Doula was the Key to Joyous Childbirth

For This New Mom, a Doula was the Key to Joyous Childbirth

For This New Mom, a Doula was the Key to Joyous Childbirth When Terika Hameth found out she was pregnant last year, her initial joy was soon overwhelmed by anxiety. “I thought, ‘What if I die?’” she said. Her fear was not misplaced. Black women in Los Angeles County...

First 5 LA Hall of Heroes: Labor Day

First 5 LA Hall of Heroes: Labor Day

First 5 LA Hall of Heroes: Labor Day You are your child’s first teacher and are very important to their intellectual growth. From the beginning, your baby is learning language skills that will help with learning how to read, write and communicate out loud in the...

Black Breastfeeding Week is August 25-31!

Black Breastfeeding Week is August 25-31!

Black Breastfeeding Week is August 25-31! When it comes to breastfeeding, racial equity is an issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control, fewer than 60% of Black mothers have ever breastfed compared to 75% of white mothers. Breastfeeding builds immunities, is...

Translate