CincySmiles has been a part of the community since 1909. Our name has changed over the years, but our mission has remained the same: to ensure that low income residents of Greater Cincinnati have access to dental treatment and prevention. Today we partner with volunteer dentists who give of their time and services, government agencies that understand the importance of good dental health, corporations who generously support our mission, and individual donors who care about dental health.
The CincySmiles Foundation, formerly the Greater Cincinnati Oral Health Council, was established in 1909 by members of the Cincinnati Dental Society as "The Free Dental Clinic." Members of the Society and others in the community were concerned about the poor dental health of children in the Cincinnati Public Schools. The original mission was to identify school children from low income families who were in need of dental treatment. It quickly became evident that without assured follow-up care, screenings were meaningless. One year later the first school dental treatment clinic opened, one of the first programs of its kind in the country.
Early partnerships with the city and county health departments and school systems served as many as 9,000 children a year in 13 schools. In the 1950’s and 1960’s the Oral Health Council, by then known as the Public Dental Service Society, joined the successful local battle for water fluoridation.
Cincinnati Public Schools, facing declining resources, withdrew its funding for its school treatment program in 1982. The Oral Health Council responded in 1984 by partnering with the Cincinnati Health Department to develop the first school based dental sealant program. Our program model has since been replicated in more than 100 other communities. That first sealant project now reaches 7,000 schoolchildren every year.
In the late 1980’s the mission of the agency was expanded to address dental prevention, education and treatment needs of all underserved groups in the community, including working poor adults, those with disabilities, the homeless and the frail elderly. The name was changed to the Greater Cincinnati Oral Health Council.
In the new millennium, and yet another change in name to the CincySmiles Foundation, the organization began to take a more active role in treatment, managing clinics in federally qualified health centers, a homeless clinic, and a mobile dental vehicle that provided easily accessible treatment to Cincinnati Public Schools and Head Start programs.