Gov. Bill Haslam has declared June 11-15 Smile Power Week in Tennessee, a time to celebrate and promote healthy smiles and the professional oral health services provided by charitable, reduced-cost clinics across the state.
And for good reason. Research shows 13 percent of Tennesseans age 18-64 have lost six or more teeth due to decay, infection or gum disease, placing the state at 39th in the nation.
While the number represents a 28 percent improvement over 2012, the more painful news is that 18 percent of adults in Tennessee went without a dental visit last year, putting the state at 43rd in national rankings.
The bottom line? Tennessee has work to do on its overall oral health and the governor and Tennessee first lady Crissy Haslam are rallying with volunteers of the Tennessee Charitable Care Network to brighten up the outlook.
Created by the Tennessee Charitable Care Network to promote oral health statewide during National Smile Month, Smile Power Week spotlights the services of nonprofit dental clinics across the state and on the simple steps everyone can take to make their smiles healthier.
Johnson City’s Keystone Dental Care has joined the statewide Smile Power campaign in partnership with Delta Dental, a key supporter of the nonprofit, reduced cost clinic that has been providing care to Johnson City area residents who do not have dental insurance since 1999.
During Smile Power Week, Keystone Dental Care will be giving its patients free dental hygiene kits provided by Deltal Dental — a new toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash and instructions to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss and rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash daily and, for best results, change your toothbrush every three months.
Philip Wenk, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee, said Tennessee’s charitable dental clinics last year provided more than 25,626 procedures to people who would have otherwise not received care.
The number includes 2,818 patients treated at Keystone Dental Care, or an average of 18 patients per week who received services, including cleanings, fillings, extractions and a limited number of caps and root canal procedures provided by the clinic’s staff of part-time and volunteer dentists, oral surgeons, periodontists and hygienists on an income-based sliding-fee scale.
“These clinics are doing an amazing job caring for those most in need,” Wenk said. “They are creating and restoring so many smiles. We know that the power of smiling can change lives and we are proud to partner with dental clinics to help their communities smile. We salute Keystone Dental Care for making such a difference in the lives of so many.”
Lisa Eggers, Keystone Dental Care’s executive directo, said the clinic is excited to have the opportunity to bring awareness to its patients, staff and supporters who are helping meet the oral healthcare needs of the community and to be joining in the statewide celebration of the power of a smile.
In addition to what a healthy smile does for person’s self esteem, Eggers said, studies show smiling while under stress can help lower your heart rate and good oral health habits can also reduce your risk of heart disease as well as periodontal disease.
“They say regular brushing, flossing and preventative dental visits are good for for your mouth, your heart and your general overall wellness,” she said. “So you can take care of your teeth and your heart by brushing for two minutes at least twice a day.”
In addition to Smile Power Week celebrations taking place at charitable dental clinics from Memphis to Bristol, Crissy Haslam will conduct a special Smile Power reading with children at the Nashville Public Library on Wednesday,
More information about Keystone Dental Care’s services are available online at keystonedentaljc.com or may be obtained by calling the clinic at 433-232-7919.
Email Sue Guinn Legg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.