Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Awards

Foundation honors and rewards organizations that provide oral health care to children in need.

Jun 4th, 2010

CHICAGO, Illinois--Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children, the foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, has awarded five Access to Care Grants to organizations that supported local service initiatives and provided oral health care to underserved children and/or children with limited access to care.

HSHC announced May 28, 2010, its first Access to Care Grant awardees, each receiving up to $20,000, during the AAPD’s 63rd Annual Session in Chicago.

Access to Care Grants were awarded to the Dental Foundation of Oregon’s Tooth Taxi Mobile Dental Clinic, Geisinger Health System’s “Every Smile Counts” program (Pennsylvania), Indiana Dental Association’s “Born to Smile” program, Nisonger Center Johnstown Road Dental Program (Ohio), and PDI Surgery Center (California).

HSHC received 65 applications for its five 2010 Access to Care Grants that will be used to help awardees expand their reach within the community. This will include funding tools and instruments, patient and parent education materials, take-home supplies such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, and outreach efforts to recruit dentists to participate in program activities.

Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease—five times more common than asthma, four times more common than early childhood obesity and 20 times more common than diabetes. Low-income children are disproportionately affected by tooth decay as they are more likely to have unmet oral health needs due to lack of dental insurance or access to a dental home.

A dental home, which is an accessible location where a child's oral health care is delivered in a coordinated, comprehensive and family-centered way by a licensed dentist, is a key component to a child receiving appropriate oral health care and should be established prior to age one.

Proper oral health care is critical for the overall healthy development of children. Poor oral health can lead to pain, malnutrition and affect appearance, all of which can lower a child’s self-esteem and ability to succeed. In fact, there are approximately 23 million U.S. children who do not have dental insurance (compared to the nine million children who do not have medical insurance).

“We’re proud to support these five outstanding organizations with our Access to Care Grants,” said Dr. Paul A. Kennedy Jr., president of HSHC. "Every child deserves a healthy smile and we applaud our awardees’ efforts to ensure that all children receive the care they need, regardless of finances or insurance coverage. With our help, we hope these groups can continue expanding the services they provide to young patients who need it most.”

For more information, visit the HSHC Web site at

To read more about dental treatment of children, go to children.

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