screen your child smile

Screen your child’s smile

  Partnership Allows Public Access to Free Dental Screenings
Although Americans will spend an estimated $60 billion on dental services this year, many children still do not have access to basic dental care needed to identify two of the three most common human afflictions: cavities and gum disease. Now, through a corporate alliance with Proctor and Gamble and a grocery chain with stores in 31 states, the Academy of General Dentistry will launch a free visual dental screening program to help educate children and teens about oral health and its connection to overall health.

According to national figures, cavities remain one of the most common infectious diseases among U.S. children, with dental decay affecting 52 percent of 8-year-old children and 78 percent of 17-year-olds. Almost 50 percent of tooth decay remains untreated among low-income children.

“We want to continue to improve the quality of life for children by preventing and controlling oral disease and surveying the oral health status of those that may not have had previous access to dental care,” says J. Nick Russo, DDS, FAGD, president of the Academy.

Oral diseases also can lead to overall health problems, as well as significant pain, disruption of eating and sleeping habits, overuse of emergency rooms, loss of valuable school time, and poor self-image.

Untreated tooth decay can affect a child’s capacity to succeed and lead to lasting long-term effects, says Dr. Russo. A rampant dental decay may cause some children to be too embarrassed to open their mouths in front of other children.

The Academy suggests parents find a dentist who can provide a dental screening for their child and possibly refer future services to treat existing oral health conditions.

Now through September 1, 2000, children under age 18 in 31 states can visit an Academy member for a free visual dental health screening. Under the program, consumers will receive a receipt for a free visual dental screening when they purchase any two Crest7 oral care products at an affiliated Kroger store, P&G’s retail partner for the project. A visual screening consists of a visual examination of the head, neck, and mouth for severe dental problems.