Kids Oral Health Initiative
Tooth decay is an epidemic among our youngest children, especially those from families struggling with poverty (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Foundation). According to the Center for Disease Control, about 1 in 5 children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. The percentage of children with untreated tooth decay is twice as high for those from low-income families. Tooth decay and other oral health issues affect a child’s ability to eat, sleep and learn, as well as their future health. Children with poor oral health were nearly 3 times more likely to miss school due to dental pain and children reporting recent toothaches were 4 times more likely to have a lower grade-point average than their peers (U SC, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry).
In February, MOM celebrated Kids Oral Health month. With the generous support of the Middleton Endowment, and the Madison Breakfast Rotary Club, MOM was able to distribute at no cost, 400 picture books in English, Spanish, and Arabic illustrating tooth care, trips to the dentist, and proper brushing techniques, plus 200 Kids Dental Health kits containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss from Madison No Fear Dentistry.
On the first day of distribution, an Arabic speaking family entered the food pantry. MOM volunteer, Marge, was delighted to not only offer dental supplies, but a book written in Arabic about visiting a dentist. “The family was so excited that they immediately sat down and began reading the book. Hearing someone reading in their native language and witnessing the joy of this family made the entire dental kit project worth it.”
And, of course oral health is important for all ages. Thanks again, to Madison No Fear Dentistry for suggesting and collecting end-ofvisit dental supplies from patients who don’t need them and bringing them to MOM’s pantry. Madison No Fear is joined by Dental Health Associates of Fitchburg and Dental Health Associates, Old Sauk Clinic, in collecting and donating hundreds of dental health items for adults and kids. Thank you also to the Wisconsin Dental Association Foundation for awarding a grant of 720 adult and youth toothbrushes to MOM’s Pantry.
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