Reading, writing, arithmetic…and brushing and flossing!
Our dental team is bringing some important lessons to the classroom these days, as we have made a commitment to provide services to children enrolled in the Head Start program across the metro.
Head Start is a program designed to give every child, regardless of circumstances of birth, an opportunity to succeed in school.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the program provides health, nutrition and education resources to pre-Kindergarten-aged children.
The program, housed in schools and community centers, encourages parent involvement and provides linkages to social services for low-income families.
Nationwide, the program has helped more than 32 million children and their families since its founding 50 years ago.
Swope Health Services Dental Department is an important part of the healthcare offerings at Kansas City Head Start programs, operated through the Mid-America Regional Council.
“About 30 percent of all emergency room visits are dental-related and about half of those involve children,” said Dr. David Moyer, SHS Director of Dentistry. “The Emergency Room is not the right place for these kids. We can help.”
Emergency visits are expensive and ERs are not equipped for dental emergencies. Dr. Moyer notes the real goal for parents and kids is to get ongoing dental care from the start, so we can prevent issues that lead to emergencies.
In the Head Start program, Dr. Moyer and his team of dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists and patient care representatives travel twice a year to the Kansas City-area Head Start locations to provide dental care.
The team can perform basic examinations and assess risks of cavities and impediments to oral health.
The team’s mobile set-up allows them to take X-rays, perform cleanings, provide fluoride treatments, fill cavities and even perform extractions.
“A big part of the work is counseling the kids and parents on oral health and good habits,” he said. “The SHS team follows up with families of kids who need more dental services or medical healthcare. We want to help them get healthy, whether that takes an extra dental appointment or other care.”
SHS is now visiting 15 locations throughout the metropolitan Kansas City area, from Grandview to Liberty, Excelsior Springs and Parkville and throughout the urban core.
Top Three Dental Tips for Kids
- Don’t brush off dental care. Use your toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. More is even better!
- Watch what you eat and drink – those sugary treats can really take a toll on your teeth. Eat healthy.
- Make a habit of visiting your dentist every six months for a cleaning, fluoride treatment and sealants. Take care of any cavities or problems at those visits, too.