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Healthy Smiles’ Golden Crown Contest raising funds for free dental screenings for Spartanburg children

This week kicks off Healthy Smiles of Spartanburg’s Golden Crown Contest, an online event raising funds to provide free dental care for children in Spartanburg County and showcasing the creativity of area dentists.

The 2021 Golden Crown Contest features local dentists and their staffs in a takeoff of their favorite movie on their very own movie poster. The coronavirus-themed posters include Covidbusters starring Meadow Creek Family Dentistry and Mask, a rendition of Grease starring the office of Dr. Lina Miraziz and featuring the lyrics, “Tell me more, tell me more, like does he wear a mask?” And A League of Their Own starring Spartanburg Family Dentistry reminds us “There’s no crying in quarantine.”

Healthy Smiles was established after a group of concerned citizens in Spartanburg County read the 2000 Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health, answering the national call to action by studying ways to improve the oral health of children in the Spartanburg area.

Three years later – with financial assistance from Mary Black Foundation, Spartanburg County Foundation and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Foundation – a task force turned into a nonprofit that has been delivering free dental screenings and care to uninsured and low-income families in Spartanburg County since 2004.

“Oral health is the gateway to overall health, and prevention is key,” said Healthy Smiles Executive Director Kathleen “Kitta” Cates.

Healthy Smiles offers non-invasive dental screenings for children in grades 4K, 5K, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th in all Spartanburg County schools. Children ages four to 18 with no dental insurance and no Medicaid qualify for screenings. Healthy Smiles also operates a dental clinic staffed by area dentists volunteering their time on Fridays and Saturdays by appointment.

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The nonprofit saw a considerable rise in new patients in 2020 due to area residents losing their jobs and insurance coverage because of the coronavirus pandemic, Cates said. “We have about a three-month backlog.”

Like most nonprofits, Healthy Smiles had to cancel its largest annual fundraiser in 2020 at a time when the need is the greatest. In lieu of an in-person event, the organization held its Golden Crown Contest online, raising more than $33,000 with an album cover contest featuring area dental practices. Healthy Smiles is hoping to top the 2020 contest with this year’s movie poster contest.

“We have a highly creative and fun dental community,” Cates said. “They put a lot of effort into these contests for an incredibly worthy cause.”

Want to help?

Go HERE to cast your vote for your favorite dental practice or movie poster.

Each vote is $10 and you can vote as many times as you like.

The winner of the Golden Crown Contest will be announced on Friday, March 5, on during Your Carolina, which airs from 9-10 a.m. on WSPA Channel 7.

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