March 14, 2013
by Kahaliah Richards
Pediatric dental disease, more commonly known as severe tooth decay, can lead to malnourishment, anemia, required emergency surgery and life-threatening secondary infections.
Severe childhood tooth decay is a multi-faceted epidemic that stems from access-to-care issues, a growing number of families without dental insurance coverage, and individual contributing factors such as oral health illiteracy coupled with increased consumption of processed foods and sugar-based drinks.
Rampant childhood tooth decay imposes a social and economic burden throughout the world. In Canada alone:
• Over 2.26 million days of school and 4.5 million work days are lost annually due to dental complications.
• Seriously impacting self-esteem, job prospects and overall quality of life, untreated tooth decay and gum disease are also directly correlated with heart disease, stroke, pulmonary disease and pre-term, low birth-weight babies.
Beginning as National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, NCOHF is the only independent nonprofit organization inNorth Americasingularly focused on eliminating pediatric dental disease by supporting direct community-based delivery of innovative preventive, restorative and education strategies to underserved youth.
Since its launch in 2006, NCOHF has touched the lives of millions of children through quality compassionate treatment, preventive and educational services delivered by our valued Affiliate partners.
NCOHF has distributed over $11 million in financial and product contributions to our national network of Affiliate healthcare facilities.
Internationally recognized academic and clinical leaders, including several members of the Oral Health section of theAmericanAcademy of Pediatrics, serve on the NCOHF Scientific Advisory Board and guide NCOHF oral health programming.
Partnerships with U.S.organizations including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, National Association of School Nurses, and Special Olympics International expand our ability to reach and serve children with economic, physical and intellectual challenges. NCOHF is currently building relationships with Canadian organizations to develop channels to reach at-risk children throughoutCanada with critical oral health services.
NCOHF has established strong partnerships with renowned national and international professional organizations to facilitate NCOHF professional volunteer programs and increase access to care for underserved children.
Signature NCOHF professional programs, Tomorrow’s SMILES® and the RDH Esther Wilkins Education Program, give volunteer dental practitioners the opportunity to improve oral health locally by providing pro bono dental services and oral health education to promising at-risk youth in their communities. The Dentist of Distinction Program and Esther Wilkins Legacy League provide opportunities for oral health professionals to support the delivery of oral health services for vulnerable children.
The FREE Kids Club promotes healthy smiles for all children. Members receive personalized letters from the ToothFairy and quarterly fun, educational activities that promote healthy behaviors for the whole family.
The NCOHF Oral Health Zone Program® is a community approach to solving a global problem and the core of all NCOHF activities. With several Oral Health Zones (OHZ) being established throughout theUnited States andCanada, each one engages all community stakeholders in a comprehensive approach to breaking the cycle of severe tooth decay and the devastating effects it has on their community.
Many leading University dental and dental hygiene schools are members of the growing NCOHF Affiliate network. Students United for America’s ToothFairy® was launched in 2010 at the University of California San Francisco. Mobilizing students in a concerted effort to provide and support delivery of vital preventive services for at-risk children, chapters are now forming at universities, dental hygiene schools, dental assisting programs and high schools throughout the U.S. and in Canada as Students United for Canada’s ToothFairy.
NCOHF Board of Directors is comprised of highly respected and dedicated leaders of national and international organizations, universities and corporations concerned with children’s oral health and elimination of oral health disparities, including the Immediate Past President of the American Dental Education Association and Vice President and Past Chairs of the Council of Deans.
Generous corporate underwriting of operational and program expenses ensures that 100% of all other contributions go directly to programs benefitting children in need.
…because every child deserves a healthy smile®
For more information visit us at www.CanadasToothFairy.org
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