CHICAGO — Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for American children, with 42% of children ages 2-11 experiencing cavities in their primary teeth. Oral Health America's Smiles Across America® (SAA) program aims to address this chronic problem, recently distributing $300,000 in grants to organizations across the country who provide oral health care to children. These grants were made possible through the financial support of: DENTSPLY International, LISTERINE®, the Patterson Foundation, and Trident.
"The grants distributed by SAA support programs that provide care to underserved children throughout the country. For many of the children, they would not have access to dental care without the work of our SAA partners," said OHA Programs Manager Tina Montgomery. "We're proud to support the wonderful work they do every day."
SAA supports oral health programs nationwide in school-based and school-linked settings that provide preventative and restorative dental care to students, including fluoride treatments and dental sealants, and educate children and families about the importance of oral health. Children who suffer from mouth pain have difficulty eating, sleeping, and concentrating in school. SAA partners help prevent children from experiencing that pain.
"Oral Health America has been a valued partner in our school-based sealant program for a number of years, particularly at times when the future of the program has been uncertain," said Dr. Daniel Jones, Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Baylor College of Dentistry, an SAA grantee. "More recently, OHA's support allowed us to expand our sealant program at a time when the college was looking at options to augment our community-based clinical training program."
The SAA grantees for the 2013/2014 school year are: AT Still University--Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Aroostock County Action Program, Inc. in Maine, Center for Oral Health in Pamona, CA, the Chicago Department of Public Health, The Children's Dental Center of Greater Los Angeles, Children's Dental Services in Minneapolis, the City of Portland, Maine, Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, Inc., the Greater Tampa Bay Oral Health Coalition, the Infant Welfare Society in Oak Park, IL, Kids Smiles, Inc. in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., Kids In Need of Dentistry (KIND) in Denver, New York University College of Dentistry--Pediatric Dentistry, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, Santa Barbara-Ventura Counties Dental Care Foundation, United Way of North Central Florida, and University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine.
 National Health and Nutrition Examination Study 1999-2004.