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a healthy smile

Advanced Family Dental Provided Needed Care to the areas Children

Friday August 10th, children in the area received free dental care as part of the ADA Foundation’s Give Kids a Smile program, a nationwide program launched in 2003 that brings dentists and other volunteers together to provide screenings, treatment and education to children throughout the United States.

While dentists have treated thousands of children in need since the national program began in 2003, we face a long road before all Wisconsin children are able to attain and maintain their best dental health.

The numbers are staggering. This year alone, more than 181 million Americans won’t visit a dentist, even though nearly half of people over 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. Nearly one in four children under five already has cavities and 10 million children ages two through 18 had no dental insurance in 2011.

The children and families behind these numbers are the reason for events like Give Kids A Smile, which has grown to treat 350,000 to 400,000 children a year through more than 1,500 events nationwide. Our vision to help eliminate cavities in U.S. children is part of a broader goal by the ADA Foundation and the ADA to improve the dental health of all children across the U.S. by calling for an increase in children who receive dental sealants.

All dental disease is preventable, and prevention starts with adults. If adults can access preventive dental care and education, their children’s chances of developing dental disease could lessen – both because of more frequent trips to the dentist and because of prevention and education practices at home.

Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease. Regular dental check-ups are critical to keep children’s teeth and gums healthy. Left untreated, tooth decay can have devastating effects on young children and has been connected to more serious health concerns later in life, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, bacterial pneumonia and diabetes. Early dental problems can affect children's learning, how they interact with other kids and their ability to eat.

A major barrier for too many families is the lack of access to affordable dental care. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about half of all children from low-income families have had tooth decay. With 38% of Wisconsin’s children living in poverty, there is a critical need to improve preventive care and treat problems before they escalate.

While many children would not have access to dental care without Give Kids A Smile, it is not a stand-alone solution to improve oral health in Wisconsin. We need actionable, long-term solutions to deliver continued care and dental health education to everyone in Wisconsin.

That’s why stated dental societies have joined across the nation under the leadership of the American Dental Association (ADA) to launch a nationwide grassroots movement — Action for Dental Health: Dentists Making a Difference. Give Kids A Smile is just one of several initiatives under Action for Dental Health aimed at reducing the barriers that children and adults face to obtaining dental care.

The uphill battle Wisconsin’s low-income families continue to face against tooth decay is part of what drives Wisconsin dentists to provide care now through charitable programs like Give Kids A Smile and Mission of Mercy. Dentists will continue to work with lawmakers to address dental health and educate Wisconsin families.

The Give Kids A Smile Clinic will be held yearly in our community. Learn more at www.afdentalrv.com. For more information on the Action for Dental Health Movement, please visit ADA.org/action.

  

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