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Smile and Thrive Program: Giving Vulnerable Children a Reason to Smile!

Bright smiles and laughter should be a part of every child's life, but for too many in the Newcastle area, tooth decay is a harsh reality that causes pain, discomfort, and embarrassment. Did you know that around 2 in 5 children experienced decay in their primary teeth, and 1 in 4 experienced decay in their permanent teeth? These statistics are even higher for children in low-income households, who are

twice as likely to have untreated decay. At LIVEfree Project, we believe that good oral health is essential for a child's overall wellbeing.

As recipients of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation 2021 Community Grant, we've been able to pioneer this incredible initiative in Newcastle, providing dental check-ups, oral hygiene education, and treatment to children who may not have access otherwise. We know that good oral health positively impacts a child's quality of life, education, social interactions, and self-esteem, and without it, their ability to eat, speak, sleep, and socialise confidently can be compromised.

Through our program, we are currently partnered with local schools to provide regular dental appointments to ensure every child receives the treatment they need.

We have partnered with No Gaps Smile Adamstown, Paul Pepper Dental Surgery, Lambton Family Dentist, Pacific Smiles Jesmond and NSW Dental to provide quality dental care to vulnerable children. We are currently supporting Merewether Public School, Hamilton North Public School, Waratah West Public School, and Shortland Public School.

Additionally, each student receives a mentoring session over a meal, where we help children build emotional resilience and safety, thanks to our amazing partnership with Grill’d Kotara.

Good oral health is essential for a person's overall health and wellbeing. It positively affects their quality of life, social interactions, and self-esteem, and without it, a person's quality of life can be severely compromised. Pain, discomfort, and embarrassment can affect their ability to eat, speak, sleep, and socialise confidently. Dental decay is a leading cause of total disease burden among children, and if left untreated, it can cause infection and the systemic spread of disease.

At LIVEfree Project, we understand that a complex interaction of factors contributes to a person's oral health and their risk of developing dental decay. Personal, social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors all play a role. Preventing dental decay and promoting good oral health is key to our Smile and Thrive initiative. Early preventive strategies include education around diet, establishing sound oral hygiene practices, including the appropriate use of fluorides, and regular oral health check-ups.

We're passionate about our work, and we're always looking for new partners to join us in our mission. If you're interested in sponsoring our Smile and Thrive initiative or helping us share our story, we'd love to hear from you. Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of these children and help them smile and thrive.

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