Do your children struggle with dental health? It's more common than you may realize! If you need help, read this post about what Give Kids A Smile offers. While this post is sponsored by Give Kids A Smile as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
I have been lucky and always had very good dental health. I had one itty bitty cavity when I was in 2nd grade – so small you can barely see the filling – and I haven't had one since.
My poor girls didn't inherit my superb dental health. They've both had several cavities that had to be filled. And they both had to have a baby tooth pulled too. It absolutely breaks my heart!
We've needed a dentist in their lives to keep their dental health in the best state possible, but it hasn't been easy on anyone. We eat a healthy diet and brush teeth twice a day in our house, and they still have dental problems. They were likely born with weak enamel, which makes it incredibly important to do everything we can to protect their dental health.
It makes me feel a bit better to know that we aren't alone with our dental health struggles. Did you know that 42% of children ages 2-11 years old suffer from tooth decay? It's the number one chronic infectious disease that our children in the U.S. suffer from.
Even with the easy access to Medicaid for children, and the Affordable Care Act that was supposed to fix our country's healthcare struggles (but didn't), our children are suffering. Nearly 50% of minority, under-served and Medicaid recipients suffer from cavities that go untreated.
Volunteers with Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) realize that this is a huge issue that needs to be addressed, so they have dedicated themselves to doing just that.
GKAS just celebrated their 15th anniversary earlier this month. That's 15 years of helping kids who suffer from dental health issues. I love to see organizations helping in areas where they can make a difference.
Over the last 15 years, GKAS has had more than half a million volunteers give their time and skills to help the children in this country. Those volunteers include dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental technicians, dental office staff, dental students, teachers, parents, school nurses and many other community health professionals.
They have helped 5.5 million under-served children across all 50 states with a wide array of services, including education, screening, preventive care and dental treatment. These are things that these children may not have had help with if GKAS wouldn't have stepped up.
Kids with untreated tooth decay typically accrue more school absences, have difficulty paying attention in class and even have poor self esteem. Thank you to GKAS for helping so many children that can now experience better overall health and wellness.
Even though GKAS hosts more than 1,300 events each year, they can't touch every child that needs dental care. That's where you come in – you can help too!
If you have exposure to under-served kids, you can help teach them the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day for two minutes. You can show them how to properly floss their teeth and show them how to choose healthy meals. And you can encourage them to visit their dentist regularly – at least once a year.
If you find yourself in a situation where your child needs dental care, but you don't have the means to make that happen, visit ADAFoundation.org/GKAS and click “Find Dental Care for Your Child” for a list of resources. Or you can call 1-844-490-GKAS (4527) to see if there is a GKAS program available in your area.
You can also follow the Give Kids a Smile Facebook page for more tips on ensuring the kids in your community have good oral health.