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Special Smiles

Special Smiles is one of the core components of the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes initiative, created to focus attention on the overall health issues facing Special Olympics athletes. The mission of Special Smiles is to increase access to dental care for Special Olympics athletes, as well as all people with intellectual disabilities.

Dental screenings are used as a means to increase awareness of the state of the athletes’ oral health for the athletes themselves, as well as their parents and/or caregivers. Athletes are given hygiene education to help ensure they are doing an adequate job of brushing and flossing, as well as nutritional education to understand how their diet affects their total health.

At Special Smiles screenings, dental professionals provide screenings, health education and prevention services and refer athletes for follow-up care. Athletes are given a new toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss. Free mouth guards are provided for athletes competing in contact or high-risk sports. Athletes that have completed a permission slip also receive a fluoride varnish.


Special Smiles screenings throughout the US have found that a large percentage of our athletes are unaware of the condition of their oral health.

47% have periodontal conditions

24% have untreated tooth decay

12% have dental pain

10% are in need of urgent care

Check our Event Calendar for next available Special Smiles screenings!

Special Olympics North Dakota is proudly sponsored by these program partners