Low-income families living in overpopulated areas can face extra barriers to accessing dental care because there simply aren't enough providers accepting state-funded dental coverage. Children living in these communities face wait times of more than a year to see the dentist and often rely on school-based dental programs to access care.
Covid shutdowns and restricted access to schools over the past two years have made it almost impossible for these kids to receive the care they need to have a healthy smile. But thanks to Crest and Oral-B, nonprofit organizations working to improve the oral health of children in marginalized communities in urban areas of California were empowered to reach more kids with preventive services that help save smiles.
In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, Kids’ Community Dental Clinic (KCDC) in Burbank, and Ravenswood Family Dentistry in East Palo Alto received Crest and Oral-B ToothFairy Grants to help them provide dental screening events at elementary schools with the greatest need.
Dale Gorman, Executive Director at KCDC reported that out of the number of children screened, 28.6% had decay–higher than the national average of untreated decay. 3% of the students seen were in need of urgent dental care to relieve pain and/or infections. The educational materials and donated Crest and Oral-B products KCDC received for the event helped get the children excited about taking care of their smiles.
“We had a giant ‘WOW!’ moment receiving the delivery of three large pallets of products from the generous people at Crest and Oral-B,” Gorman told us. “When we arrived with boxes and boxes of ‘surprises’ for the students, they were so excited that they squealed with delight and skipped beside us with anticipation of what could be in all those boxes!”
The screening events also provided an opportunity for future dental professionals to engage with young patients in need and learn about the need to address oral health inequities in low-income communities. The staff at KCDC enlisted the help of dental students from UCLA, and dental hygiene students from West Los Angeles College and Pasadena City College to conduct the screenings and apply fluoride varnish when needed.
Nonprofit organizations like KCDC face an ever-growing need for services and depend on charitable contributions in order to meet the needs of the communities they serve. But the benefit of the donation went far beyond the screening events. Gorman added, “We are so proud to feature Crest and Oral-B products for every goodie bag given by the clinic to our patients and to the children we see at over 80 locations. New patients are always surprised at the generosity of products that we share when they come to visit us for cleanings or treatments!”
Likewise, Ravenswood Family Health Network worked with volunteers from the Mid-Peninsula Dental Society to conduct screenings and provide oral hygiene kits that included donated Oral-B toothbrushes, Crest toothpaste, and floss along with educational materials for both students and their caregivers provided by America’s ToothFairy. Each screening included a dental follow-up plan and referrals to establish a dental home at their clinic, Ravenswood Family Dentistry.
“It’s been rewarding and heart-warming to see the excitement kids have after they receive their oral hygiene kit and other resources,” Ravenswood’s Jessica Yee told us. “As well as seeing how thankful teachers and school organizers are that their children had the opportunity to be screened and receive dental recommendations and follow-ups.”
Thank you, Crest and Oral-B for helping our program members make an impact on the oral health of young smiles in California and across the country! To learn more about how Crest and Oral-B are working to improve the oral health of people across America, watch this video:
To learn more about how you can help our members serve more kids, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.