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At Risk Children Receive Free Dental Services at Communities In Schools Clinic
Date:2/22/2010

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- February is National Children's Dental Health Month and Communities In Schools of Nevada is proud to recognize their partnership with Future Smiles to provide free dental services to children at their on-site clinic located at the Cunningham Elementary School campus. With fewer and fewer resources, community based programs that are convenient and accessible for families, such as Communities In Schools of Nevada's clinics, are many times the only option for dental and medical care for these students.

According to a joint United Way and Nevada Community Foundation study, access to dental health services is gravely limited in Las Vegas. Nevada ranks first in the national for the prevalence of tooth decay (67.1%) and untreated decay (38.9%) among third graders; nearly 42% of third graders have not visited a dentist in the past year while 11.2% have never seen a dentist at all. The National Institutes of Health reports that dental disease among kids from low-income families is epidemic with 80 percent of children's tooth decay found in just 25 percent of children.

And when children are suffering from toothaches, they are unable to focus on their schoolwork, their grades go down and discipline problems increase.  But dental disease is preventable. Brushing, flossing, eating a balanced diet, regular dental visits and having access to fluoride and sealants are ways to prevent dental disease.  The Communities In Schools of Nevada and Future Smiles partnership is a vital resource in the Las Vegas community to offer these critical dental services to children to help them.  Through the partnership, students are provided free preventative dental services and education to ensure good oral health.

"It's heartbreaking to see a child's smile destroyed by severe tooth decay," said Future Smiles Project Manager, Terri Chandler, RDH. "Imagine not being able to eat, sleep and pay attention in school because you have a mouthful of toothaches," Chandler said. "Some children have reached the point where alternatives are limited and a dentist must pull the teeth that can't be saved. It's tragic. Our state needs to do more to help children get the dental care they need."

Chandler and her team provide services twice a week but the demand surpasses their funding.  "If we could, we would have Future Smiles at our clinics every day of the week," said Communities In Schools of Nevada State Director, Louise Helton.  "The need in our community for low cost dental services continues to grow at an alarming pace and this program only touches a few children a week.  National Children's Dental Health Month is a great vehicle to raise awareness of the issues that children face and we hope that Southern Nevada embraces our efforts to serve the students in our community," she added.

For more information about Communities In Schools of Nevada and their health and wellness initiatives, please visit their website www.cisnevada.org.

About Communities In Schools of Nevada: Communities In Schools is the nation's largest dropout prevention organization, working in nearly 3,300 K-12 public schools. Founded in 1977, Communities In Schools is anchored by the national office in Arlington, Va. Today, more than 1.3 million young people annually receive direct services through almost 200 Communities In Schools local affiliates in 26 states and the District of Columbia. Between 80-90 percent of Communities In Schools' tracked students show improvement in academic achievement, attendance, behavior and promotion to the next grade level.

About Future Smiles: Future Smiles enhances vulnerable children's health and well being through free dental services, thereby improving their capacity to learn and succeed within the school environment now and in the future.  They improve the oral health of at-risk children, who are uninsured or underserved, by providing preventive on-site oral health care at schools with 50% or higher free lunch enrollment. Services include oral hygiene education, child dental cleaning, sealants, fluoride varnish and case management for children identified with urgent oral health needs.

SOURCE Communities In Schools of Nevada

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