This post was sponsored by Give Kids A Smile as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Sadly, 42% of children ages 2-11 years old suffer from untreated dental problems. Despite improved access to dental care under the Affordable Care Act and improved Mediaid availability, 50% of under-served, minority, and Medicaid receipts still have cavities that aren’t treated. Many people don’t understand the importance of dental care for kids, which is the reason for this post.
Baby teeth are important, y’all. Even though they eventually fall out, it is important to keep baby teeth healthy. Here’s why:
5 Reasons those Baby Teeth are Important
1. Baby teeth help kids learn to chew properly and eat nutritious food. It’s sad but true that kids with severely decayed primary teeth are more likely to be malnourished and underweight.
2. Baby teeth foster speech development. Think about how you make sounds using your tongue, mouth, lips, and even teeth. All are essential elements to speaking properly, and proper speech is necessary for cognitive, social, and emotional development.
3. Baby teeth hold the spots for adult teeth. I had baby teeth pulled when I was quite young and had spacers in my mouth for years to prevent the other teeth from drifting around in my mouth and causing future problems for my permanent teeth. I sometimes still put my tongue behind my bottom teeth to feel for the spacer bar that was there for years (even thought it has been gone for 30 years!). Baby teeth preform a vital function by holding spots for adult teeth.
4. Baby teeth help kids smile. While that might not seem like much, the self-confidence that comes with smiling is necessary. Crooked and missing teeth can make children self-conscious and unsure of themselves, causing poor self-esteem.
5. Cavities can do more than cause teeth to deteriorate. Bad bacteria from cavities can impact gums, ligaments, and even bone if left alone long enough, which can set the stage for a life of periodontal diseases. I’ve watched people deal with periodontal disease in adulthood and it doesn’t look like much fun at all.
Fortunately, keeping baby teeth healthy can set the stage for good dental health for a person’s entire life. For dental tips and tricks, and ways to keep baby teeth healthy, head over here to the Mouth Healthy Website to learn more!
Give Kids A Smile Program is 15 Years Old!
But back to those 50% of under-served children who don’t get the dental attention they need. I’m excited to tell you about a group of dental professionals who are using their knowledge to give back.
On February 3, 2017, the Give Kids a Smile Program celebrated 15 years of service! GKAS started a a one-day grassroots event for 400 under-served kids in St. Louis. Dental professionals of course understand the importance of dental care for kids and set out to educate, screen, provide preventative care and dental treatments to kids in need.
Since the very first GKAS day in 2002, more than 1,300 events in all 50 states have served more than 5.5 million children. More than half a million volunteers, including dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental technicians, dental office staff, dental students, teachers, parents, school nurses, and many other community health professionals, have given their time and talents to improve the lives of millions of children.
Give Kids a Smile is now the largest children’s dental health program in the U.S.
You can help too! Make sure you help your kids keep their teeth healthy by brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing, eating healthy foods, and taking them to see their dentist. We’ve had our dentist longer than we’ve had our doctor and I’m thankful our dentist is also very generous with her skills and time by accepting many Medicaid children at her clinic. If your child needs dental care, head over to the Give Kids a Smile website or facebook page. You can also call 1-844-490-GKAS (4527).
How do you make sure your kids’ teeth stay healthy?