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Special Olympics Special Smiles

Millions of Americans lack access to basic dental care and people with special needs may be unaware of the condition of their oral health and this is where the Special Smiles program steps in.

Special Smiles provides comprehensive oral health care information and teaches participating Special Olympics athletes the correct brushing and flossing techniques for oral hygiene. They offer free dental screenings for athletes, as well.

According to Special Olympics Chief Health Officer Dr. Alicia Bazzano, an athlete’s overall health and well-being are dependent upon attentive dental care. In a recent article she wrote for Dentistry Today, she discusses how gaps in preventive care can lead to serious health issues for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics Special Smiles is a remarkable program dedicated to promoting oral health and providing dental care to individuals with intellectual disabilities. This initiative recognizes the unique challenges that people with special needs may face in accessing quality dental care and strives to bridge that gap. Through partnerships with dental professionals, volunteers, and local communities, Special Olympics Special Smiles offers comprehensive oral health assessments, education, and preventive services to Special Olympics athletes and other individuals with intellectual disabilities. By focusing on inclusivity and understanding the specific needs of this population, the program not only improves oral health outcomes but also enhances overall well-being and self-esteem.

One of the standout features of Special Olympics Special Smiles is its overall approach to oral health. Beyond dental treatments, the program prioritizes education and empowerment, teaching participants about proper oral hygiene practices, nutrition, and the importance of regular dental check-ups. This knowledge not only contributes to immediate dental health improvements but also equips individuals with lifelong skills for maintaining optimal oral hygiene. By fostering a welcoming and supportive environment, Special Olympics Special Smiles goes beyond the clinical aspect of dental care, ensuring that individuals with intellectual disabilities receive the care, attention, and understanding they deserve while advocating for greater awareness and acceptance within the broader community.

Healthy Athletes with Happy Smiles

How Can You Help?

Help us keep Arizona smiling through your time or donations that provide charitable dental care for children who need it most!

Volunteer with us at Special Smiles on April 26th and 27th, 2024!

We need dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, students, and general volunteers. Register here!

If you aren’t a dental professional or dental student, but are passionate about making people smile, join us!