Untreated dental decay affects 17 million children every year and is the most common chronic childhood disease in the United States. If left untreated, dental disease often leads to malnourishment, bacterial infections, and ER visits or emergency surgery. Pain and infection caused by tooth decay can lead to problems with eating, speaking and learning, and often contributes to missed school days. According to the ADA children miss 51 million school hours, and adults miss 164 million work hours every year due to dental disease.
National Children’s Dental Health Month, February of each year, was created to help combat these staggering statistics. Its purpose according to the American Dental Association (ADA) is to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others.
In an effort to help spread awareness of the importance of oral health and do our part to improve oral health in children, Roseman held their annual ADA Give Kids a Smile® event on Friday, February 2 at the Dental Clinic at Roseman University.
Give Kids a Smile® is a national event organized by the ADA. It began in 2003 as a way for dentists across the country to join with others in their community to provide dental services to underserved children. It was initially a one-day event in February and has grown to include national and local events year-round. Approximately 350,000 children receive treatment at 1,500 events with more than 40,000 people volunteering their time to participate.
Roseman holds their Give Kids a Smile® event every year on the first Friday of February as part of National Children’s Dental Health Month. As part of this year’s Give Kids a Smile® event Roseman dental students, supervised by Roseman faculty members who are licensed Utah dentists, provided free dental screenings and cleanings to 645 children 18 and under in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of oral healthcare and help stop the spread of untreated dental decay. Of those children that attended the event, 76 percent were uninsured, 52 percent had not seen a dentist in over a year and 70 percent had no dental home.
According to the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation every $1 spent on prevention for oral health issues saves taxpayers $50 in restorative and emergency procedures for individuals who lack dental insurance or are underinsured.
In addition to the free dental care given, Roseman students provided education on the proper way to brush and floss as part of a dental educational carnival held in the clinic building while the children waited to be seen by their student dentist.
Roseman holds this event, along with our Back to School Brush-UpTM event in August, every year to give back to our community by helping to improve oral health and to teach children that a visit to the dentist should be a fun and positive experience. Over the past few years Roseman has provided free dental screenings and cleanings as well as oral health education to over 1500 children 18 and under.
These events are planned, marketed and executed by Roseman’s student dentists. Here is the Good Things Utah segment of two of our amazing students promoting the event. This is just a small part of what the students do to spread the word about the event.
Through the Give Kids a Smile® event, and many more just like it, Roseman student dentists are taught the importance of giving back and get to see first-hand the impact they can have on those they treat.
Rachael Wadley, MBA
Roseman University of Health Sciences