Partnership brings free dental services to early care children

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Many area families face major barriers to oral health care, including lost wages, lack of transportation, the high cost of treatment and a limited number of providers accepting Medicaid coverage. To remove some those barriers, our staff celebrated National Children’s Dental Health Month this February by partnering with FHC Smiles to provide free dental health services to the eight early education child care centers enrolled in Healthy Kids Bright Futures.

Throughout the month, staff from KC Healthy Kids and FHC Smiles hosted meet and greet events at each participating center. Parents were invited to meet the dental care team and ask questions as needed. Free follow-up services such as screenings/exams, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride application, fillings and extractions were provided onsite at each child care center, and parents are welcome to receive services at the FHC Smiles clinic located on Southwest Boulevard in KCK.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children start seeing a dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts. Here are some reasons why it’s important:

  • Early dental care not only helps prevent tooth decay, which often leads to further medical problems and pain, it also helps reduce children’s fear of the dentist.
  • Dental problems in children can also impair speech development, distract them from learning and focusing in the classroom one they reach school age.
  • When visiting the dentist, children learn proper brushing and flossing techniques that promote a good oral health throughout their lifetime.

To date, FHC Smiles has provided 48 services at three participating early care and educations centers enrolled in Healthy Kids Bright Futures, and additional screening and treatment days have been scheduled at remaining child care centers.

Photo: Screening at Learning & Fun with Dr. Erica Findley and Jeff Speak of FHC Smiles, Jennifer Robinson of KC Healthy Kids and Careese Hughes of Learning & Fun.

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