News Release: Give Kids a Smile Day to be held in Ottawa County on February 3 at Pine Creek Elementary

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MEDIA RELEASE  I  January 30, 2023

Media Contacts:

Alison Clark, Communications Specialist | 616 494-5597


Andrea Whittaker, RDH, MPA, Oral Health Team Supervisor | 616 494-5540

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Give Kids a Smile Day to be held in Ottawa County on February 3 at Pine Creek Elementary


(HOLLAND, MI.) - On Friday, February 3, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) will participate in Give Kids a Smile Day at the Pine Creek Elementary school in the West Ottawa Public School District. Held annually on the first Friday of February during National Children's Dental Health Month, Give Kids a Smile Day provides underserved children with free oral health care at events across the United States. The event also raises awareness about the number of children with unmet dental needs and the obstacles they face when seeking dental care.


In Ottawa County, Dr. Cristin Zuiderveen will volunteer her day and provide comprehensive dental services on the OCDPH Miles of Smiles mobile dental unit for Medicaid insured and financially qualifying uninsured children at the school. In addition, every child at Pine Creek Elementary will receive an oral health gift bag, complete with a toothbrush, toothpaste and oral health education materials, to take home to parents.


Pain from untreated dental disease makes it difficult for children to eat, sleep, and concentrate in school. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34 million school hours are lost each year because of unplanned, emergency dental care.


"With the generosity and collaboration of our volunteer dental professionals and community partners, the Miles of Smiles program increases access to oral health care to at-risk children who wouldn't otherwise visit a dental professional. Give Kids a Smile Day is an additional opportunity for us to bring these services to children in our community," said Andrea Whittaker, Oral Health Supervisor.


"I have been a part of volunteering with the Miles of Smiles program for over 20 years. It has been such a rewarding experience to watch children receive dental care and education that they might not get if this program didn't exist," noted volunteer Dr. Cristin Zuiderveen. "The smiles at the end of each visit are enough to keep me coming back and contributing to this amazing program!"


Partners of the Miles of Smiles program working to improve the health of children include dentist and hygienist volunteers, school administrators, dental society members, community members and donors, Ottawa County Administration, and the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.


If your child is Medicaid-insured, or without dental insurance and in need of dental care, please call 616 393-5694 to see if they qualify for Miles of Smiles dental services.


The Miles of Smiles program was recently recognized with a 2022 Social Justice Award from the City of Holland's Human Relations Commission. Learn more about Miles of Smiles here, or visit


MOS 2023