The Healthy Smiles Kentucky initiative was created to improve the dental health of Kentucky's children, particularly in Appalachia.
The need for action is clear. In 2004, Kentucky led the nation in missing teeth among people age 65 or older, and some 27 percent of Kentuckians of all ages had lost six or more teeth to decay or gum disease, much higher than the national average. An assessment of the state's dental health found that half of Kentucky's children had decay in their primary teeth and 46.8 percent of children ages 2, 3 and 4 had untreated dental problems, more than twice the national average.
The main components of the Healthy Smiles Kentucky initiative are: Access for Babies and Children to Dentistry (ABCD) training for general dentists on how to care for young patients; community oral health coalitions; and the Smiling Schools program. The initiative is coordinated by the Kentucky Oral Health Program in the Department for Public Health, and is funded by a combination of state general fund dollars and grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Visit the links on the left to learn more.
Healthy Smiles: Brighter Future