According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 78% of Americans have had at least one cavity by age 17 (Jan. 2020)
It starts with not cleaning your teeth one day, a day turns into a week, which turns into a month. For some children, they may not have the proper dental hygiene education and routine dental care, which leads to cavities and other dental problems.
Soon, the child begins to feel pain with their cavities; which shifts their focus and attention away from the classroom and the throbbing pain in their mouth. The cost, goes beyond the pain the child is feeling. A dental cleaning can cost anywhere from $50 - $250; which for a low income household, may be a significant cost.
But more significant than the physical pain and the financial cost, is the sacrifice the child is taking out of school due to their health. According to the CDCP, children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.
Black Hills Reads recognizes these facts, which falls under the ‘healthy reader’ pillar which promotes health in young children to help them succeed in their educational journey.
In 2020, Black Hills Reads funded a Delta Dental bus to come to the school and provide free cleanings and procedures to children at Robbinsdale Elementary school and the Rapid City school district.
“Feeling healthy is a key part of a child’s success while in school… this is why we are dedicating our funds for the bus and also helping organize volunteers to help ease the worries of the students that will be receiving this much needed care” says Black Hills Reads Director, Kayla Klein.
“It’s such an amazing event for United Way to have the Delta Dental bus come out… It’s great when we can catch them when they are still little. Their teeth aren’t too far along and catch them and fix some of those issues,” says Brittany Condon, 5th grade teacher at Robbinsdale Elementary.
During the two days, nearly 100 students received necessary dental care such as routine cleanings, x-rays, filings and extractions.
Shayla, a Robbinsdale Elementary student, proudly grinned with her recently cleaned teeth and said, “I went on the dental bus, they helped me fix my teeth; so I won’t have to be distracted in class anymore and now I have no more cavities!”
“I got my teeth filled at Delta Dental bus today; and it will help me concentrate more in school and class”, says Jordan, a student at Robbinsdale Elementrary.
“Something as trivial as getting your teeth checked out and maintained is really goes a long way in helping our students become the best they can be here at Robbinsdale Elementary,” says Ms. Condon.