To see Carmen now you wouldn’t know that a few months ago she was just beginning to speak, eat better during meal times and shine in the classroom. Carmen was thought to be a quiet young child who was not adjusting well in school. Then, Carmen was examined for potential oral health problems at the Fowler Free Memorial Dental Clinic and was found to have severe tooth decay and abscesses.
Tooth decay is the single most common, chronic disease among U.S. children—five times more common than asthma. Yet, it is completely preventable. Children with untreated decay suffer from pain, infection and premature loss of teeth, which can cause behavioral, learning and developmental problems. Children from low income families are more likely to be uninsured or underinsured and less likely to see a dentist. Nationally, 80 percent of tooth decay is found in just 25 percent of children.
Nationally, 80 percent of tooth decay is found
in just 25 percent of children.
Like United Ways across the country the United Way of Green County is working to ensure that children learn healthy behaviors that can prevent costly, future problems. The Fowler Free Memorial Dental Clinic is a community partner providing oral healthcare for low-income children ages 12 and under in the Green County area. They screen for tooth decay, educate families on the importance of oral health and coordinate further dental care as needed. Since the program started just over a year ago, the Fowler Free Memorial Dental Clinic has provided dental services to nearly 12,000 children, many having never seen a dentist before and most having no insurance.
Over 51 million school hours are lost each year to dental disease.
Dental costs for children who receive preventive dental care early in life are 40 percent lower than costs for children who do not.
Preventative care and dental health support United Way’s 10- year goal of increasing by one third the number of healthy youth and adults by 2018.
Investing in preventative care and providing free health care services is another way United Way is creating a stronger foundation for everyone to enjoy the basic building blocks of a good life—education, income, and health.
Investing in screening and educating about healthy oral health practices prevents costly dental procedures, chronic pain and lost hours of school and work. This benefits far more than the children and families served directly. Everyone benefits when children are healthy and succeed in school, when families are financially stable and when people have good health.
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