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IU Professor Judith Chin helps children have healthy smiles

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Her nickname could be “Indiana’s Tooth Fairy.” Quite an honor and well deserved by Judith Chin, a pediatric dentistry professor at the Indiana University School of Dentistry.

For the past six years, Chin had helped bring in about $1 million in financial grants and dental supplies for thousands of Indiana children whose families can’t afford dental care and aren’t eligible for financial assistance.

“We are able to reach thousands of impoverished children who receive needed dental services and supplies,” Chin said in a news release. “Without these supplies and grants, these children would receive nothing at all.”

Chin’s most recent efforts brought in more than $100,000 worth of truth brushes - 4,992 Disney Fairies and 40,008 Hello Kitty manual kids' toothbrushes, valued at $111,750, from the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation and Procter & Gamble. Another donation brought 8,000 tubes of toothpaste.

That’s a lot of healthy smiles.

In 2008, Chin starting working to get affiliate membership for the dental school in the foundation. The goal of the foundation is to eliminate children’s preventable suffering from pediatric dental disease. The foundation provides program and comprehensive resources to deliver community-based preventive, educational and treatment services.

The program has become so successful that in 2012, the IU School of Dentistry was honored by the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation as its “Affiliate of the Year.”

“We have used these donations directly for care of patients treated at the dental school, distributed them to various clinics we partner with throughout Indiana and taken them abroad to help children in nations that IU’s dental teams visit through the International Service Learning Program,” Chin said.

Prevention of dental disease is very important and children need to learn the correct way to take care of their teeth and have available the tools they need to prevent dental problems. That’s why the grants and dental supplies made available through the foundation are focused on prevention, Chin said.

“Prevention makes everything easier,” she said. “It’s always better to prevent decay or to prevent decay from worsening.”

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