( BLACK PR WIRE) ( February 08, 2009) The American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month in February to raise awareness about the importance of oral health to a child’s developing mouth, teeth and gums. Developing good habits at an early age and making regularly scheduled visits to the dentist for cleaning, fluoride treatments, X-rays of the growing mouth structure and all related dental care helps children get a good start on a lifetime of oral health.
It is important to consider the availability of adequate dental health care for all American children in February. Many may remember the month of February 2007 which saw the untimely death of 12 year-old African American Deamonte Driver. The Maryland native died from complications of a dental infection in one tooth that went untreated due to lack of treatment; an extraction of $80 could’ve saved his life. Furthermore reports state that Deamonte’s family had lost its Medicaid coverage and that the health department in the youth’s county listed only 50 dentists willing to treat the 50,000 or so children in George’s County Maryland alone.
In one of the “richest” countries on earth, this kind of tragedy should not be a reality. All children, regardless of socioeconomic class should be assured access to proper dental health care and therefore quality of life. According to information provided by the ADA, the “Partnership for Medicaid,” which is defined as a coalition of health care of other organizations interested in dental health advocacy, urged Congress to increase federal contribution levels in January of 2008 to help secure funding for Medicaid provided dental care. Numerous American healthcare associations signed this letter which was sent to all members of Congress.
Children’s Dental Health Month should be taken seriously to guarantee no more cases like Deamonte’s occur, ever. Moreover, it is my hope that dentists across the country will take matters into their own hands and dedicate a reasonable amount of pro bono time to treating those who cannot afford their services.