Eight dentists improve smiles of area children | TheUnion.com

Back to: TWI

Eight dentists improve smiles of area children

February marks the observance of National Children's Dental Health month, a time when the American Dental Association focuses public attention on lowering the level of dental disease experienced by children.

Dental disease is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, more common than asthma or childhood obesity and yet almost completely preventable.

As a part of Children's Dental Health month, members of the Butte Sierra District Dental Society recently participated in "Give Kids a Smile Day," a day when dentists and other dental team members volunteer their time and talents to provide dental care for children who could not otherwise access the care they need.

This year more than 60 children were seen in Western Nevada County, all by dentists who are members of Butte Sierra District Dental society. The good news is that only about half of these cases required fillings.

Dental disease is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, more common than asthma or childhood obesity and yet almost completely preventable.

While prevention costs very little beyond the price of a toothbrush and the effort it takes to control the amount of sweets a child eats, treatment of dental disease requires complex care that is not inexpensive.

Fortunately, early prevention and intervention is paying off at the local level.

According to dentists who participated in this year's Give Kids A Smile event, unmet need has been greatly reduced here in Western Nevada County.

This may be due, in part, to greater awareness among parents of the need for preventive dental services and greater ease in accessing that care.

Thanks to support from local dentists and federal subsidies that help reimburse for care costs, there are now a total of three community dental clinics operating in western Nevada County.

They are: Western Sierra Medical Clinic ( formerly Miner's Clinic), Sierra Families and Chappa De Indian Health Services, all providing dental services to children.

According to the California Dental Association, all children should receive their first dental checkup by 1 year of age, allowing for early detection and possible reversal of the decay process.

They also state that by practicing basic prevention strategies at home including parent monitored tooth brushing with a fluoride toothpaste each day and lowering the frequency of sweets and starches in the diet, tooth decay can be dramatically reduced or even eliminated.

For more information on the best prevention tips for raising cavity-free children please visit http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/, a website sponsored by the American Dental Association.

A special thank you goes out, on behalf of the Butte Sierra Dental Society, to all the dentists and their staff in Nevada County who helped make this event a success: Dr. Paul Evans, Dr. Terry Horlick, Dr. Michelle Kucera, Dr. Ljubica Petrasic, Dr. Justin Pfaffinger, Dr. Lindsey Robinson, Dr. Kirsten Valentine and Dr. Jasper Yai.

Jean Creasey is a Nevada City dentist and was involved in the Give Kids a Smile Day.