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.
A child’s smile is worth so much. My two daughters are happy girls with more giggles and smiles shared than I could possibly ask for. They are my great love story and every smile adds to our happiness. My daughters are proud of their beautiful bright smiles but there are many children that are not. Sadly too many children continue to suffer with tooth decay, the number one chronic infectious disease among children in the U.S. Even with the availability of Medicaid and improvements in children’s dental care under the Affordable Care Act, tooth decay affects 42 percent of children aged 2 to 11 years old and almost 50 percent of minority, underserved, and Medicaid recipients suffer from untreated cavities. Give Kids A Smile is making a difference and this year is celebrating their 15th anniversary.
Since I was pregnant with my first daughter I have maintained a family blog journaling every significant moment including discovering first baby teeth. My oldest daughter was just one year old during her very first visit to the dentist and I detailed the full appointment on my family blog.
January 20, 2010
Today was Gabriella’s first dentist appointment. I had been examining Gabriella’s teeth everyday since I discovered one growing in a little crooked. I was really excited to go to the appointment with my questions. The dentist was fantastic! He was great with Gabriella. Regardless of how nice he was, Gabriella did not enjoy the visit! They hoped to take two xrays but Gabriella was only cooperative for one. The doctor had me hold Gabriella against me and then lean her back for the exam. She screamed hysterically the entire time he was checking out her teeth. Her screaming was actually a good thing because it kept her mouth open for the dentist. Turns out her tooth is growing in crooked because she has an extra baby tooth. You are only supposed to have four teeth between your canines but Gabriella has five. The dentist said only about 5% of people have extra teeth. For now we are leaving it alone but at some point it may need to be pulled. The dentist told us there is a short time frame in which we can pull it and eliminate an extra permanent tooth growing in. As she gets older an xray will be able to determine if a permanent tooth is behind the extra baby tooth. For the time being Gabriella might have some crooked baby teeth because of crowding.
Every six months my daughter had dental appointments for teeth cleaning and x-rays. The dentist gave her silly sunglasses to wear and the office was decorated with fish. She grew to love visiting the dentist so much more than that first visit. I also very much appreciated the visits because it gave me the reassurance she was receiving preventative care and oral health education at a very young age. These are privileges some children and parents never have the opportunity to experience.
Half of all children enter kindergarten with tooth decay resulting in more school absences, trouble paying attention and low self esteem. My daughter lost her first tooth at five years old before she began kindergarten. Instead of leaving her tooth under her pillow she wrote a note to the tooth fairy.
Hi Dear tooth fairy,
Please do not
take my tooth
I will keep it safe.
I really love
The tooth fairy did not take her tooth that night and left a $1 golden coin.
She has lost many more teeth since and finally trusts the tooth fairy.
Give Kids A Smile started with an event servicing 400 children by providing dental care in St. Louis 2002. Now celebrating their 15th year of service, through the dedication of volunteers and the support of the American Dental Association, the organization has provided dental care to more than 5.5 million children that otherwise would not ever see a dentist at over 1,300 events.
This year our youngest daughter fell in a bathtub and chipped three teeth. The fall was extremely scary as we did not know if her injury was more than just cosmetic. Baby sister had her first dental visit with the same dentist that has been seeing her big sister for many years. It was a great relief to hear she had only chipped her teeth and, unless we wanted to, did not need any additional dental care consequently. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to take my children to the dentist and provide them with proper oral hygiene. Because of Give Kids A Smile, many families that would otherwise not receive oral health services, have the opportunity for free education, screening, preventive care, and dental treatment. 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 make the events possible.
What can you do to help?
- Make sure the kids around you know to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day, eat healthy meals, and visit their dentist once a year.
- Learn more about dental health tips at the Mouth Healthy website.
- Thank a dentist for volunteering to help kids in need.
- If your child needs oral health care, visit ADAFoundation.org/GKAS and click “Find Dental Care for Your Child” for a list of resources. Or, call 1-844-490-GKAS (4527) to see if there is a GKAS program available in your area.
- Donate to your time or funds to support Give Kids A Smile.