Today in Washington there is good news as fewer low-income preschoolers around the state suffer from tooth decay and the overall rate of untreated decay among children is falling, signs that access to care is improving.
But, despite these good numbers, the 2010 Smile Survey also found that nearly 40 percent of the state’s children begin kindergarten having experienced tooth decay, and nearly 14 percent of all kindergarten children have untreated tooth decay. Low-income and minority children suffer from the highest rates of tooth decay. National Children’s Dental Health Month reminds us that we need to close these gaps.
Local dental societies across the state, funded in part by grants provided by Arcora Foundation, organized a variety of activities in February to draw attention to the importance of children’s oral health. For example, Clark County dentists sponsored a Children’s Dental Health Day and provided dental services to 264 children from low-income families. In Pasco, volunteers provided free checkups to 150 children under age 14. The volunteers reminded the children and their parents about the importance of oral health and provided tips for taking care of teeth.
To learn about ways to take care of your child’s oral health, visit www.KidsOralHealth.org.