Untreated Dental Disease Affects Overall Health
A recent study conducted by the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of the University of Southern California revealed that three out of four disadvantaged kids in Los Angeles have untreated dental disease. In fact, the disparity in oral health care between poor and affluent children in California is the worst in the nation.
Many families don’t have dental insurance. It’s tough to budget time and money for dental care when paying the bills for rent, food, clothing and utilities is a priority. For some, dental health care comes at the bottom of the “to do” list.
Poor dental health care can have long-term, negative effects on children’s well-being. Kids with cavities aren’t eating balanced diets because it hurts to chew. Poor nutrition can impair their daily health, reduce their ability to lead an enjoyable and active life, and can also cause stress. Other health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke; and Type 2 diabetes can occur. It’s alarming to realize that some of these conditions can be prevented when children have access to regular dental care.
Good Dental Care Keeps Kids Healthy and Smiling
Fortunately, there is an organization that is working to address these critical health care issues in children attending schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District. The L.A. Trust for Children’s Health understands that oral health can directly affect students’ ability to succeed in school. The L.A. Trust works to provide community-wide oral health education to students at local schools, including fluoride varnish programs to help prevent tooth decay. Their programs help students overcome their fears of seeing a dentist and gain knowledge about the importance of early, frequent brushing and dental visits.
The L.A.Trust partners with Kaiser Permanente in our mutual goal of helping improve the overall health of our children. Our collaborative efforts concentrate on the importance of maintaining good oral health from an early age. The L.A. Trust is leading the way in improving student health and increasing readiness to learn through health care access, advocacy and programs. The solution isn’t just about filling cavities and brushing teeth. It’s about educating families about the importance of good health care, and providing convenient and affordable access to quality dental health care for our children.
For more information on organizations that partner with Kaiser Permanente to improve health in our communities, go to: Community.kp.org