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Ronald McDonald Care Mobile(R) Brings Dental Care to Area Schools

ROGERS, Ark., Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Many Northwest Arkansas children will get their first glimpse of a dentist's chair when the new Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®, the area's first mobile dental clinic, comes to their schools. The mobile clinic was unveiled at an event today at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers, where officials spoke about the need for access to quality dental care for children and the barriers to overall health and learning that dental disease can cause. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® is a project of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC®) of Arkoma, and RMHC® representatives were joined by officials from its corporate partners Arkansas Children's Hospital, Delta Dental of Arkansas and Tyson Foods, Inc. ( TSN).

"The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children," said Bill Mathews, chairman of the board of directors of RMHC® of Arkoma and McDonald's owner-operator. "The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® is a way for us to have a positive and direct effect on the dental health of children here in Northwest Arkansas. Nationwide, an estimated 50 million school hours are lost due to dental-related illnesses, and children from low-income families lose up to 12 times more school hours. This mobile clinic will provide dental care for children who would not normally receive it."

The 40-foot-long mobile clinic will travel to 19 elementary schools in Benton and Washington counties that have the highest number of students receiving free and reduced lunches. Parents of students in these schools will receive information with further details about how their children can receive dental care through the school nurses; eligible children must not currently have a source of dental care. Dentists from Arkansas Children's Hospital will provide preventative and restorative care to 1,000 children every year to eligible students attending.

Scott Gordon, executive vice president of Arkansas Children's Hospital, said, "Tooth decay is the most widespread of chronic illnesses affecting children ages five through 17. It is five times more prevalent than asthma and seven times more prevalent than hay fever. Poor dental health has been associated with diabetes, heart disease and malnourishment. Clearly, good dental health is critical to a child's overall health."

The negative impact of poor dental health in children is clear.

  • 75 to 80 percent of dental disease is experienced by 25 percent of the child population, mostly among low-income families.
  • The U.S. Surgeon General says that approximately half of all cavities go untreated in children, causing pain, dysfunction, school absences and occasionally malnutrition due to pain when eating.

Lindsey Gibson, executive director of RMHC® Arkoma, said, "We are excited to make dental care more accessible to children. Often, parents are unable to take their children to see a dentist because they cannot pay or cannot afford time off from work for an appointment. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® will provide a means for these children to get the care they need."

Devin Cole, Tyson Foods senior vice president of national accounts and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® advisory council chair added, "Tyson Foods is proud to be a part of the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® and the work that the professional dental care team will do to improve dental health among Northwest Arkansas children. This will benefit our neighborhoods, our communities and our children."

For nearly 35 years, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC®) has been making a global impact on the most pressing problems facing families. The RMHC® approach is to think globally and act locally by tailoring our programs to address the most pressing needs of each community we serve. Established in 1999, RMHC® of Arkoma is the local RMHC® chapter serving Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkoma is to create, find, and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children.

Arkansas Children's Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. The campus spans 28 city blocks and houses 316 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children's health and development. ACH recently ranked No. 85 on FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. For more information, visit

Delta Dental of Arkansas has been writing group dental insurance since 1982 and currently serves more than 1,000 participating Arkansas dentists, 2,700 employer groups and more than 1.4 million lives. Delta Dental is the largest dental benefits provider in the state of Arkansas and is a member of Delta Dental Plans Association, a national network of independent not-for-profit dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits programs to 51 million Americans in more than 93,000 employee groups throughout the country. For more information about our mission and charitable giving visit

Tyson Foods, Inc., founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is the world's largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork, the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products and is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves. Tyson provides products and service to customers throughout the United States and more than 90 countries. The company has approximately 117,000 Team Members employed at more than 300 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.

SOURCE Ronald McDonald House Charities

SOURCE Ronald McDonald House Charities
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