Child Health Advocacy and Safety

Oral Health and Dental Care

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Oral Health and Dental CareAmerican Family Children's Hospital believes every child deserves the best possible health care service, regardless of his/her family’s financial circumstances.
 
Supporting dental services for uninsured and underserved people in Dane County is essential to raising healthy children with strong self-esteem and self-worth.
 
Together with community partners, American Family Children's Hospital's primary goal is to reduce the impact that pain from poor oral health has on a child's ability to do well in school and live a healthy lifestyle.
 
The program visits Dane County schools with students in high need of dental care. The program offers:
  • Free screenings
  • Sealants
  • Instruction on proper oral hygiene
Give Kids a Smile
 
This program provides a means of accessing oral health screening, prevention and treatment services for Dane County children ages 5 to 18 who have no other opportunity for dental care. Local dentists donate comprehensive oral health services to Dane County school children via referrals from school nurses or social workers.
 
Program contact: Marcella Ziegler
 
Oral Health Coalition of Dane County Oral Health Coalition of Dane County
 
Oral health is an integral part of overall health, so our organization's mission is to improve oral health through prevention, education and increased access to dental care for community members of all ages in Dane County.
Our goals include:
  • Promoting and expanding Oral Health Coalition membership and participation
  • Producing a consistent set of local oral health data to identify issues and resources, quantify unmet needs of the community and direct/develop oral health initiatives
  • Improving the oral health of Dane county by providing and promoting community-wide oral health education and prevention
  • Engage decision-makers in oral health issues at the local, regional and state levels
Program contact: Nan Peterson

The Need: Rising Costs of Dental Care

A common view of cavities is that they are a natural part of a child growing up, but dental disease is widespread and costly. The Wisconsin Hospital Association estimated that Wisconsin emergency rooms treat over 22,000 patients with dental disease yearly, at a cost of $6.5 million per year. And a 2001-2002 survey by Wisconsin's Department of Health and Family Services found:

  • 60.1 percent of state third-graders had a history of cavities
  • 30.8 percent had untreated tooth decay
  • 31.1 percent of screened children needed dental care

The U.S. Surgeon General estimated half of the cavities suffered by children in lower-income children go untreated, causing unnecessary pain, dysfunction and school absence.