For the City Times
CAP Services recently received a $5,000 grant from the American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation to expand the Ministry Dental Center’s Smiles Forever program in Portage and Waupaca counties.
Started in 2010, Smiles Forever is an education and advocacy program designed to educate parents and caregivers on the importance of regular dental care for infants and toddlers ages zero through three. The center first began targeting infants/toddlers after noticing a significant number of young children with extensive decay. Of the patients the center saw, approximately 90 percent had chronic decay at two years of age or older.
“The program addresses the need by changing the oral health culture of parents and caregivers, many of whom do not have the knowledge of dental care for their very young children,” said Brenda Diamond, Ministry Dental Center Director. “We are grateful to the ADA Foundation for helping us increase the reach of this important work.”
Program activities consist of education and outreach to parents and caregivers at a variety of access points including the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, public health programs and New Mothers groups at Saint Michael’s Hospital.
The grant will also support outreach to health care providers and to families using the Boys & Girls Club’s Berard Center in Stevens Point. Diamond said research indicates that if a child remains free of tooth decay through age five, it will decrease the risk of that child needing extensive and costly dental care throughout his/her lifetime.
The ADA Foundation grant will support program staff time in greater outreach as described and providing families with things like toothbrushes. It is anticipated that 430 children will receive care, and that 54 percent will return for any followup care.
For more information, contact Diamond at 715-342-8060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.