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Halifax Community College (HCC) Dental Hygiene faculty, staff and students, along with area dental professionals participated in Give Kids A SmileŽ on Feb. 2 in celebration of National Children's Dental Health Month. This marked the third year that the HCC Dental Hygiene Program has participated in Give Kids A Smile.

The North Carolina Dental Society along with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Oral Health Section set aside the first Friday in February each year to provide free dental care to the state's children. The program is a national initiative by the American Dental Association that focuses on the epidemic of untreated oral disease among children.

The HCC clinic was able to provide free oral care to 26 area children from Aurelian Springs Elementary School. Dr. Bill Blaylock and Dr. Doug Peedin were on hand to provide dental care, while second-year Dental Hygiene students, with the assistance of the first-year students, provided preventive care in the form of x-rays, exams, cleanings and fluoride treatments. Elementary school personnel on hand were Tonya Jones, counselor, Patricia Hedgepeth, social worker, and Felicia Roberts, parent leader.

According the American Dental Association Web site, the Give Kids A Smile name was first used by the Greater St. Louis Dental Society when a group of dentists treated nearly 400 children over a two-day span in February 2002. Since then, the program has grown. In 2006, more than 500,000 children were treated. Events took place in 2,000 locations across the country, providing free services to underserved children.

HCC Dental Hygiene student Stephanie Tharrington works with an elementary school student during Give Kids A Smile, Feb. 2
Students from Aurelian Springs Elementary participated in Give Kids A Smile, Feb. 2, at Halifax Community College. Pictured are: (from left, front row) KiA Thomas, Nasir Jones, Lizbeth Lahut, Kashaunda Bowser, Rachel Spain; HCC Dental Hygiene students Victoria Wester and Erica Gregory, (from left, top row) Emmanuel Lahut, Jazmine Hooten, and HCC Dental Hygiene Department Chair D.J. Markham.