TWIN FALLS – Second and third grade students at Lincoln Elementary School will receive free oral health care courtesy of area dentists.
The two-day event, Feb. 5 and Feb. 19, is part of Give Kids a Smile and National Children’s Oral Health Month and is sponsored by the Regence Caring Foundation for Children, Family Health Services, the College of Southern Idaho Dental Assisting Program and dentists from the South Central Idaho Dental Society.
Participating children will receive a free dental exam, sealants and fluoride treatments. Dental services will be performed on-site during regular school hours.
To participate, students must turn in a signed permission slip from a parent or guardian by Feb. 4. Those forms are available at Lincoln Elementary School.
Participating dentists include Dr. Adam Hodges, Dr. Troy Williams, Dr. Kyle Poppleton and Dr. Mark Alexander.
Sealants are a simple and effective way to prevent the most common type of tooth decay in molar teeth. The chewing surfaces of molars have many deep pits and fissures (grooves) where the bacteria that cause cavities hide. These pits and fissures are hard to clean with a toothbrush. Sealants are a plastic coating that is painted on the molar teeth to seal the pits and fissures and prevent tooth decay.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, and fluoride applications are effective in preventing and reversing the early signs of tooth decay.
Placing sealants and fluoride is painless and easy for children. In the case of sealants, the molar tooth is cleaned, conditioned, dried and painted with the plastic sealant. The fluoride will be applied on all of the child’s teeth. surface. 
The Regence Caring Foundation for Children operates exclusively for the benefit of children in need of dental care.
“Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease,” said Kathy Ellis, Idaho director of the Regence Caring Foundation for Children. “Studies indicate the oral health problem in our nation is serious, sometimes causing overall long-term health issues. We’re trying to remedy this widespread problem with preventive procedures early in life. We want to help kids become healthy, strong members of our communities.”
Ellis said the Foundation partners with more than 150 dentists in Idaho, as well as with health departments and schools, to reach children whose health could be threatened for a lifetime from the complications of poor dental care in childhood.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, left untreated dental disease threatens to rob a child of much more than a smile, with far-reaching results such as:
• School absenteeism
• Weight loss
• Poor self-esteem
• Speech impediments
• Life-threatening infections
• Costly emergency room visits
More information about the Regence Caring Foundation for Children is available by calling toll-free 1-888-589-5437.
About the Regence Caring Foundation for Children
The Regence Caring Foundation for Children, a 501(c)(3) organization, provides free dental care to eligible children in Idaho. It is sponsored and administered by Regence BlueShield of Idaho and has provided thousands of children with free dental care. Participating dentists provide dental services to eligible children at reduced rates. The Foundation is funded through tax-deductible contributions from individuals, corporations, civic groups, churches and other foundations. Contributions to help those children in need can be sent to Regence Caring Foundation for Children at P.O. Box 2560; Boise, ID 83701. For more information, visit our Web site at