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Tribe donates $15,000 for kids’ dental care

The Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation has given $15,000 to La Clinica’s Happy Smiles dental outreach program that provides basic dental care to students in local schools.

Kids get dental screenings, education, fluoride treatments, sealants to help prevent tooth decay and dental care kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. They are referred to local dentists if the screenings reveal they need more comprehensive care.

The Happy Smiles program serves 27 schools in Jackson County, including elementary and middle schools in partnership with the Medford, Phoenix-Talent and Central Point school districts.

The dental care La Clinica provides in schools reaches about 15,000 children annually, helping set youngsters on a path to a lifetime of healthy teeth, the health care organization said.

Getting dental care at school helps reduce absences and prevent pain that can make it hard for kids to concentrate and learn. It’s also convenient for parents and guardians, who can get their children’s basic dental care done without having to take time off work for appointments. The care is free for children in low-income households that don’t have dental insurance, La Clinica said.

Since its start in 2004, Happy Smiles has relied on community support to pay for its services at schools and other locations. Learn more about Happy Smiles at laclinicahealth.org/services/school-based/dental.

The Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation has supported nonprofits dedicated to improving lives in seven southwestern Oregon counties since 1998, granting more than $20 million over the decades.

Its most recent round of giving in January 2022 awarded $625,692 to 62 nonprofits in Coos, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lane counties.

The Cow Creek tribe operates the Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville, plus a variety of other businesses.