INDIANAPOLIS — Officially, Judith Chin is a pediatric dentistry professor at the IU School of Dentistry. Unofficially, her title could be Indiana’s Tooth Fairy.
During the past six years, Chin has led efforts that brought about $1 million in financial grants and dental supplies to Indiana to treat thousands of children whose families don’t have the resources to pay for dental care and aren’t eligible for governmental assistance. Most recently, more than $100,000 worth of toothbrushes have been made available.
The dental supplies and financial grants are an immense assistance, Chin said. “We are able to reach thousands of impoverished children who receive needed dental services and supplies. Without these supplies and grants, these children would receive nothing at all.”
Chin took the pioneering steps in 2008 to acquire affiliate membership for the dental school in the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation. She has been helping to generate healthy smiles ever since.
The foundation is dedicated to eliminating children’s preventable suffering from pediatric dental disease by providing programs and comprehensive resources to deliver community-based critical preventive, educational and treatment services. In 2012, the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation honored the IU School of Dentistry as its “Affiliate of the Year.”
Chin’s efforts recently garnered 4,992 Disney Fairies and 40,008 Hello Kitty manual kids’ toothbrushes, valued at $111,750, from the foundation and Procter & Gamble. Another donation brought 8,000 tubes of toothpaste.
“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.
The grants and dental supplies made available through the foundation are focused on prevention, Chin said. “Prevention makes everything easier. It’s always better to prevent decay or to prevent decay from worsening.”