All Kids Should Have a Healthy and Happy Smile

All Kids Should Have a Healthy and Happy Smile

Feb 03, 2009

Parents urged to call during Children's Dental Health Month

Poor early dental health can lead to serious problems even for the very young. Cavities or tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease of childhood. Children who take good care of their teeth when they are very young are more likely to keep caring for their oral health as they grow up. Locally, less than 1 in 4 Medicaid-eligible children have visited a dentist before their second birthday; and less than half have been to a dentist by their sixth birthday. The bad effects of untreated childhood tooth decay can last a lifetime and can lead to mouth pain and infection, weakened immune systems and low self-esteem.

"We know that when children visit a dentist by their first birthday they have a better start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums," said Ida Ovnicek, Program Manager for the Health District's Oral Health Programs. "We want all parents whose children don't have a dentist to give us a call this month."

The Spokane Regional Health District offers two programs for children's oral health. The Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program gets Medicaid kids ages 0-5 connected to a dentist and the Access to Baby And Child Dentistry "Expanded" (ABCD "E") program provides eligible children ages 0-19 with fluoride varnish and oral screenings through participating medical offices. After serving over 39,000 children in Spokane, the Health District's ABCD Program celebrates their 14th anniversary this month. For more information on ABCD(E) Programs call (509) 324-1478.