Children in Eastern Kentucky have the second highest rates of untreated tooth decay in the nation, but an upcoming event in Hazard will help ensure that some local children will get a check-up.
An estimated 150 children from underserved families will receive free preventive dental care provided by the University of Kentucky Dental Outreach Team from the UK North Fork Valley Community Health Center in Hazard, and other volunteers from the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health.
The dental care will be provided on Monday, July 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of Give Kids A Smile, a nation-wide event to provide free, desperately-needed dental services to local qualifying children from underserved families. Last year, more than 44,800 dental team members nationwide participated in Give Kids A Smile. This year, 11 sites are participating in Kentucky.
When the UK Dental Outreach Team started seeing children in local schools and Head Start centers in 2006, over half the children in Perry County had untreated cavities, and 20 percent had painful abscessed teeth. The preventive dental care provided in the schools by the dental Care Mobile, along with partnerships and case management, have brought the decay rates down 16 percentage points and cut the urgent dental needs have been cut in half.
This event will be one more way to emphasize the importance of dental care, even through the summer months. And it will be an opportunity for all children to receive the dental care they need, even those with Medicaid or no dental insurance.
The event in Hazard will take place in the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile at the Walmart located in the Daniel Boone Shopping Center.