Research demonstrates the importance of establishing a dental home by age 1 as a way to help ensure a lifetime of oral health. Recognizing this, Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children — the foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) — partnered with the University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry to host Dental Home Day. Sponsored by Sunstar Americas, the event took place in mid-May during the AAPD Annual Session in Seattle.
As part of this year’s event, 150 children with otherwise limited access to dental treatment will receive a year of subsidized dental care. Participants will receive checkups, cleanings and restorations, as well as follow-up care for the year — all funded by $30,000 in grants from the foundation. In combination with dental faculty and residents from the center, AAPD volunteers worked with local dentists to provide treatment.
University of Washington School of Dentistry Dean and Professor Joel Berg, DDS, MS, an AAPD past president, says that “one of the most important things we can do with events like this is spread awareness of the toll that dental disease takes on children.” Characterizing caries as the most common childhood disease, Berg notes that not only is it largely preventable, but by coupling good dental habits with preventive efforts and early treatment, “most children can enjoy a lifetime of great dental health. And establishing a dental home is a key part of that.”