www.illinois.gov

Pat Quinn, Governor

State Links Skip to Content Skip to State Links

 Government
 Business
 Employment
 Education
 Health & Safety
 Family & Home
 Travel & Recreation
 About Illinois
 Illinois.gov

Stay Informed

Your Government


Illinois Flag Honors

Inspector General


 IGNN: State/All Press Release

ILLINOIS NEWS
The State of Illinois News page provides access to the Illinois Government News Network and all state press releases.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2004

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OUTLINES “HEALTHY SMILES INITIATIVE” LEGISLATION MANDATING DENTAL SCREENS FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN AT KICK-OFF OF “GIVE KIDS A SMILE DAY” Quinn celebrates Children’s Dental Health Month

Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn kicked off “Give Kids A Smile Day” and National Children’s Dental Health Month with the Infant Welfare Society by outlining his “Healthy Smiles Initiative” legislation that calls for mandatory dental screenings for every public and private school student. 
 
“Tooth decay is the number one chronic illness in children and a leading cause of school absences,” said Quinn, noting that national estimates show a staggering 51 million school hours are missed each year due to the effects of dental disease.  “Dental decay can be controlled before it leads to problems with eating, speaking and learning.”
 
Give Kids a Smile Day is a national event spearheaded by the American Dental Association as a way to call attention to the lack of access to dental care for many low-income children.  Various events took place across the country in conjunction with the activities at the Infant Welfare Society where disadvantaged children in the Chicago area received free dental exams and cleanings.
 
“Dental disease is an education issue, public health issue and economic issue facing every Illinoisan and much more needs to be done to battle this growing epidemic,” said Quinn.  “There is a desperate need in Illinois to expand access to adequate dental care and to educate children and their families about dental health.”
 
“It is through dedicated community health centers like the Infant Welfare Society and the initiatives of the American Dental Association that we reach underserved patients to give them the care they so desperately need,” he said.
 
Quinn’s “Healthy Smiles Initiative” legislation – sponsored by Rep. David Miller, DDS (D – Dolton), the only dentist in Illinois legislature – would require each child in kindergarten, second and sixth grade to have a dental screening in the same way as health exams.  Students would have to show confirmation of a dental exam upon starting that school year.
 
Last year, Quinn greeted Tour de Smile cyclists on their 4,200-mile trans-national bike relay to promote dental health and raise funds for dental programs for economically disadvantaged children.  The cyclists passed a toothbrush baton from state to state – from the push-off in California, through 13 states including Illinois, to the finish line in New York – promoting the importance of dental health as a critical component to overall health.
 
Quinn also mentioned his dental health initiatives including promoting his Healthy Smiles Center website dedicated to dental health, and providing ongoing support of his office to broaden activities such as the Give Kids A Smile Day and Tour de Smile throughout Illinois year after year.
 
“Dental disease in children is preventable and treatable and can be caught early,” Quinn said, noting that postponing annual dental visits could add hundreds of dollars to the cost of needed dental treatment in the long run.
 
Quinn was joined at the event by Rep. Miller; Sen. Iris Martinez (D – Chicago); Cheryl Byers, Executive Director of the Infant Welfare Society; Ghassan Souri, DDS, Dental Director of Infant Welfare Society; and various state and city health department officials.
 
The Infant Welfare Society treats more than 8,000 women and children annually through more than 41,000 service visits.  Approximately 90 percent of the patients are Hispanic, residing primarily in West Town, Irving Park, Albany Park, Portage Park, Belmont, Cragin, Avondale, Logan Square and other areas with high concentrations of low-income immigrant families.


Video Archived Lt. Governor's News Conference Archived Lt. Governor's News Conference Video 56kArchived Lt. Governor's News Conference Video 135kArchived Lt. Governor's News Conference Video 300k
Audio Archived Lt. Governor's News Conference Archived Lt. Governor's News Conference

###

News Categories

 State/All
 Governor's Office
 Lt. Governor's Office
 Agriculture
 Budget/Fiscal
 Business
 Children/Families
 Culture
 Disabilities
 Economic Development
 Education
 Environment
 Flag Honors
 Health/Human Services
 History
 Infrastructure
 Opportunity Returns
 Recovery
 Safety/Security
 Technology
 Tourism/Recreation
 Transportation
 Workforce/Jobs

News Resources

 Search the News
 IIS Radio News
 RSS News Feeds
 e-News Subscriptions
 Communications Office
 Privacy Statement

Features

Sign up for an e-news subscription
Copyright © 2014 State of Illinois Site Map | Illinois Privacy Info | Kids Privacy | Web Accessibility | Contact Us