READING, PA (December 12, 2016) – Nothing looks better on your child than a bright healthy smile. But the truth is that childhood tooth decay is the top chronic childhood illness in America. Half of U.S. children have cavities before age 8.   Children with special needs and children from families with low incomes, especially those in Black, Latino and Native American communities, experience the highest rates of dental disease and untreated tooth decay.

While longer-term solutions will deal with issues that disproportionately affect the poor, today in Berks County, we can eliminate tooth decay in children.

The facts:

  • Mouth pain affects a child’s ability to learn, play and eat healthy foods.
  • Children with poor oral health are 3 times more likely to miss school as a result of dental pain.
  • Children with cavities in their baby teeth are 3 times more likely to develop cavities in adult teeth.
  • You can spot the early signs of a cavity while it is still preventable.

Many worry about the cost of dental care, but it is more costly to repair decayed teeth than to prevent the decay from the start. Both Medicaid and CHIP will help to pay for dental visits.

We need your help to educate our community on the easy steps to a healthy mouth. If you’re willing to volunteer to teach community groups about the path to healthy teeth, the Berks County Community Foundation, PA Head Start and the DentaQuest Foundation will provide a free day of training and materials about cavity prevention and oral health care. For more information, contact the Community Foundation.

Let’s give all of our children what they need for healthy mouths and beautiful smiles.