CAP Services recently received an $8,545 grant from the American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) to expand the Ministry Dental Center’s (MDC) 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 0-3. MDC first began targeting infants/toddlers after noticing a significant number of young children with extensive decay. Of the patients MDC saw, approximately 90% had chronic decay at 2 years or age or older.
“The program addresses the need by changing the oral health culture of parents and caregivers, many of whom who 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 ADAF 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. Diamond said research indicates that if a child remains free of tooth decay through age 5, it will decrease the risk of that child needing extensive and costly dental care throughout his/her lifetime.
The ADAF grant will support program staff time in developing program brochures and adding three new access points for Smiles Forever programming in 2015. It is anticipated that 1,400 parents and caregivers will receive knowledge of the importance of early dental care and advocacy through the education and outreach activities of the program in the coming year.
For more information, contact MDC Director Brenda Diamond at 715-342-8060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ministry Dental Center, established in 2002 as a partnership between CAP Services, Delta Dental of Wisconsin and Saint Michael’s Hospital, offers a “dental home” where patients receive both treatment and preventive care to maintain and improve their oral health. MDC serves Portage and Waupaca county residents enrolled in Medicaid or BadgerCare.