Special Smiles, funding provided by Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation, offers dental screenings, health education, prevention services, and refers athletes to potential sources of treatment and follow-up care. In 1997, Healthy Athletes, in cooperation with the Division of Oral Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the Special Smiles protocol to evaluate oral health. Special Smiles provides SO athletes with an oral health screening exam, education about the importance of good oral hygiene habits, a fluoride varnish and instructions in correct tooth brushing and flossing methods.
- Increase access to dental care for Special Olympics athletes, as well as all people with intellectual disabilities.
- Raise dental professionals’ awareness of the oral health concerns of people with special needs, including difficulties involved in accessing care.
- Develop a body of knowledge about the oral health care needs of children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
- Provide resources for athletes to find a dental professionals who cares for people with special needs.
Athletes with a current SOWI Athlete Registration and Medical form and Athlete Release form are welcome to attend any Healthy Athlete event, even if they are not competing at the Tournament.